Thousands of drivers at risk of fines for misusing disabled spaces
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Drivers have been issued with a disabled parking space warning as thousands could be at risk of fines. Any driver using a Blue Badge without being entitled to could be hit with a £1,000 fine.
Blue Badges help people with disabilities or health conditions park closer to their destination. The scheme also gives access to disabled bays and permission to park on yellow lines. But some motorists have been caught taking advantage of the scheme.
A recent study by Comparethemarket has revealed that between 2019 and 2021 there were 3,496 prosecutions for drivers illegally using a Blue Badge and another 171 offences committed by the Blue Badge holder themselves.
Based on a survey of 2,000 British motorists, the research revealed that 17- to 24-year-olds are most likely to illegally use a friend or family member’s Blue Badge (31 percent) and more than one in 10 have forged or used a stolen Blue Badge.
The survey also revealed that motorists aged 55+ are least likely to misuse a Blue Badge, with 94 percent claiming they have never illegally used a family or friend’s Blue Badge.
Anna McEntee, director at Comparethemarket, said: “Drivers need to be aware of the rules around Blue Badges and think twice when it comes to illegally misusing one.
“Figures show that from 2019 to 2021 there were 3,496 prosecutions of non-badge holders illegally using another person’s Blue Badge.
“Displaying a Blue Badge illegally is a criminal offence and could result in a fine of £1,000 and even risk confiscation of the badge entirely, in turn detrimentally impacting the person it is intended for.”
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Here are six tips to ensure drivers will avoid a £1,000 fine for Blue Badge misuse:
- The Blue Badge should only be used when the holder is in the vehicle as either a driver or passenger.
- The badge should be displayed clearly from the outside of the car. The dashboard is often the best place for this with the holographic side up.
- When the badge becomes damaged and is difficult to read drivers should replace it.
- When parking on yellow lines or restricted parking, the blue badge clock should be visible from the outside of the car, along with your badge.
- An officer can request to see the badge at any time, so ensure it is always with you when driving and parking.
- The badge should not be used so that non-badge holders can benefit while the holder sits in the car.
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A Blue Badge costs up to £10 in England and £20 in Scotland and usually lasts up to three years. It’s free in Wales.
Anyone with a hidden disability – such as anxiety, autism, chronic pain and respiratory problems – will need to provide supporting evidence confirming the following:
- Diagnosis of your medical condition/disability
- Symptoms/effects of your condition/disability and;
- Explain the need for the Blue Badge in line with the criteria for Hidden Disabilities. Drivers will need to confirm if they experience any psychological distress whilst walking or are at risk of harm to themselves or others whilst walking.
- Provide a list of possible coping strategies which they have tried out, to help manage their condition, and why these are not effective.
Supporting evidence includes letters from a GP, consultant or another health professional (such as a psychiatrist, physiotherapist, or neurologist) and school or SENCO reports.
Earlier this year a professor of criminology from Sheffield received a £60 parking fine after he took his parents for a meal in a restaurant in Spanish City, Whitley Bay. Philip Hodgson’s 84-year-old stepmother suffers from Parkinson’s and possesses a blue badge.
On top of that, Mr Hodgson’s 87-year-old father has a degenerative eye disease. The 57-year-old professor used his stepmother’s badge as the trio enjoyed their meal in a fish and chips restaurant.
However, to his surprise, he received a £60 fine a couple of weeks later. Mr Hodgson claimed he did not believe he needed to pay to use the disabled bay on June 3 as they are usually free of charge.
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