Fines for misusing disabled bays hit £4.2m in 2017 after nearly 100,000 penalty tickets were issued to motorists.
A series of Freedom of Information requests to local councils revealed the figures, which showed drivers flouting regulations and parking in some of the UK’s 42,000 council-operated disabled bays despite not having a valid Blue Badge. The 97,138 fixed penalty tickets brought in a whopping £4.24m for spaces on streets and in council-run car parks.
That’s far from the full story, too, as it doesn’t include fines issued to drivers who parked in privately owned disabled bays, such as those in non-council car parks or supermarkets.
The data also reveals that a further 11,000 tickets and £1,7m in fines were issued to motorists who obstructed dropped kerbs – vital between road and pavement for disabled pedestrians or those with pushchairs.
The FOI requests were made by insurance price comparison site Confused.com, which also found that there are currently 34 Blue Badge holders for every council-owned disabled parking space. A poll of 2,000 UK drivers found that half of those who hold Blue Badges thought councils should provide more spaces – especially with the scheme being extended by the government from 2019 to people with ‘hidden’ disabilities such as autism or mental health conditions.
Of the drivers questioned, eight per cent admitted to using a designated disabled parking bay – with 35 per cent of those saying they did it because they didn’t expect to be there for more than a couple of minutes. A further 27 per cent said they parked there because there were plenty of other disabled spaces available.
Amanda Stretton, Confused.com’s motoring editor, said: “Disabled parking spaces are available for a reason, and motorists should be mindful of leaving these to those who need them.
“We urge drivers to do the right thing and stick to standard parking spaces to avoid being landed with a fine. If they’re worried about a lack of parking, then leaving that little bit earlier might give them more time to find a space.”
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