‘Bay Watch’ highlights the need to review legislation

Drivers who park illegally in disabled spaces should face prosecution - survey finds

by Rose Barrett
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The Disabled Drivers Association of Ireland (DDAI) has called on the government to revise the current legislation on disabled car parking spaces in private car parks.

Under present law, gardaí and traffic wardens cannot impose fines on motorists who illegally park in designated disabled car spaces in private car parks.

Last week, the organisation launched  ‘Bay Watch’, the association’s campaign to highlight the ongoing the ongoing abuse of disabled parking spaces.

DDAI communications manager, Richard Ryder said people with disabilities plan their journeys in advance but often have to return home because they find designated spaces allocated for disabled drivers have been taken by other motorists with no disability badges displayed.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Mr Ryder noted this gazumping disability bays is affecting disabled drivers’ working and leisure life. Other drivers may not realise the time constraints and added stress they are placing on drivers carrying a disability badge.

He pleaded with motorists in general to ‘change their mindset’ and appealed to the government to urgently address legislation so that traffic wardens and gardaí could issue parking fines or tickets. This parking loophole means inconsiderate drivers know they have no repercussions to face and don’t seem to be in the slightest bit embarrassed.

Illegally taking up spaces in disability bays causes trauma for all purposes – whether people are heading to a local shopping centre, to the cinema, or leisure purposes, medical appointments and for work purposes.  

‘Bay Watch’ is about raising awareness and the thoughtlessness of some drivers.

A survey by Coyne Research, carried out with the DDAI’s own member research, showed that 42per cent of people surveyed believed a traffic warden or garda could issue a fine to someone parked in a disabled space in a private carpark. Seven in 10 felt drivers who illegally park in disabled bays should face prosecution – and not just fines.

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