‘Hangovers’ among excuses for parking in disabled spaces

Disabled Drivers Association says problem getting worse, calls for higher fines

As the Disabled Drivers Association calls for higher fines and penalty points for people who park in disabled driver spaces John McFarlane, a disabled driver, demonstrates the difficulty of finding a parking space in Ireland. Video: Bryan O'Brien

 

The Disabled Drivers Association (DDA) is calling for higher fines and penalty points for people who park in disabled driver spaces.

Richard Ryder, marketing manager of the DDA says that the problem is getting worse and that stronger penalties are needed.

On RTÉ’s Morning Ireland he said the fine at present is €80 but the organisation would like to see it increased to €160.

“Only when it starts hurting people in the pocket will people get the message,” he said.

“If you were going to get three penalty points on your licence you might think twice about it. In some states in the USA the fine is $400. That did work.”

Mr Ryder said there was also a problem in shopping centre car parks where Gardaí­ and traffic wardens are not allowed to give tickets.

“We would call for that to be looked at too.”

There are 5,000 members in the DDA who recently participated in a survey on social media where they were asked for top excuses people have given them when parking in a disabled space.

They were:

- I’ll only be a minute

- I’ll move if somebody else wants the space

- I’ll park where I like

- What’s it to you where I park

- I’ve a hangover

- I’m getting my Chinese and that’s more important

“People with disabilities don’t have any other choice if they want to park — they have to be near amenities and also handicapped spaces are wider — so can they access their wheelchair. They need space to open the door,” said Mr Ryder.

When asked if there are enough disabled parking spaces in Ireland, Mr Ryder said: “There’s never enough, we could always do with more, especially on the street — local authorities do a good job but they could be better.”

The Disabled Drivers Motor Show and conference takes place on 16th and 17th September in the RDS, Dublin.