Drivers urged not to use disabled spaces

Shopping centres failing to tackle issue
  • Deborah Condon

One of the biggest problems facing drivers with disabilities today is the use of disabled parking spaces by people without disabilities, a new survey has found.

According to the Disabled Drivers Association of Ireland (DDAI), currently, Gardai and traffic wardens cannot issue tickets for cars that are illegally parked in disabled spaces in car parks that are belonging to commercial premises, shopping centres, schools and other similar locations.

It carried out a survey into the main problems facing drivers with disabilities and the top issue was found to be shopping centres and other private car parks failing to tackle illegal parking in accessible spaces.

This was followed by drivers parking in disabled parking spaces without a permit.

Other issues included:
-Disabled spaces that are not wide enough, or other drivers parking too close to a wheelchair accessible vehicle, making it impossible to exit
-Misuse of the Disabled Persons Parking Card
-Trying to refuel cars in petrol stations.

"Ever since I passed my driving test late last year, I have fully appreciated the reason why the disabled parking spaces are wide. This is to allow wheelchair users the space to get their chair out of the car.

"I am thrilled that laws have been enforced for those who park in disabled parking spaces without a badge and those who use their loved ones/friends' badge, however their needs to be strict laws in private car parks and shopping centre car parks. I am asking you all out there to please put yourself in our shoes and park elsewhere," commented blogger, Sean O'Kelly.

The DDAI released the findings of its survey ahead of its Motorshow and Conference in the RDS, Dublin, on September 28-29. This free event showcases the latest vehicles, products and services to people with limited mobility, their families, carers and healthcare professionals.

The conference will also look at key topics, such as the cost of vehicle adaptations for drivers and passengers with disabilities, and future trends in electric/hybrid vehicles.

Meanwhile, the DDAI is also calling for more to be done to help drivers with disabilities.

"We would welcome the extension of enforcement policies to disabled spaces in publicly available private car parks and in the future, possible penalty points imposed for illegal parking like this in all publicly available car parks," commented Richard Ryder of the DDAI.

For more information on the DDAI Motorshow, click here


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