At present, Gardai and Traffic Wardens do not have the power to issue fines to drivers who illegally park in accessible parking bays in private carparks like shopping centres, educational institutions, hospitals and other spaces.
To tackle the issue, the Disabled Drivers Association of Ireland (DDAI ) has launched its Bay Watch campaign today with two objectives in mind. The first is calling on the Government to change the existing legislation so that gardai and traffic wardens can now impose fines on those parking illegally in private accessible bays. The second is to highlight the ongoing abuse of disabled parking bays in general and push for greater enforcement of existing regulations.
A nationally representative survey by Coyne Research, carried out in tandem with the DDAI’s own member research, underscored the lack of knowledge about the existing legislation around private carparks not only amongst the public but also amongst disabled drivers themselves.
The Coyne Research revealed that, contrary to the existing position, 42% of those surveyed believed that a traffic warden or a garda can issue a parking fine to someone parked in a disabled parking bay in a private carpark. 45% said they didn’t know.
Seven in 10 of those surveyed said that those who illegally park in disabled parking bays should face prosecution, not just fines.
A separate survey of 800 DDAI members revealed that one third (33% ) were unaware that the gardai do not have the powers to impose fines on illegal parking in private bays. 95% of these respondents said that those who illegally parked in accessible bays should face prosecution.
Coyne Research Survey Highlights
A nationally representative survey of 1,000 adults aged 18+ was undertaken by Coyne Research on behalf of the Disabled Drivers Association of Ireland (DDAI ). It revealed the following:
· Contrary to the existing position, 42% of those surveyed believed that a traffic warden or a garda can issue a parking fine to someone parked in a disabled parking bay on private party. 45% said they didn’t know.
· 74% noticed disabled parking bays being abused by non-badge holding drivers on a regular or occasional basis.
· Seven in 10 agreed that those who illegally park in disabled parking bays should face prosecution, not just fines.
· Almost four in five people are aware that a parking permit is issued to an individual not a vehicle. This rises to over nine in 10 amongst permit holders.
· 7 in 10 are aware that the permit holder must be in the vehicle when the permit is being used and this rises to circa nine in 10 amongst disabled parking permit holders.
· When asked had they ever approached a driver parked in a disabled parking bay without a parking permit displayed, 82% said no and 16% said yes. Again, this rose significantly amongst disabled parking permit holders, with 58% saying they had done so.
DDAI Member Research
800 DDAI members from all over Ireland took part in the member survey.
Almost one third of the disabled drivers interviewed were unaware that traffic wardens and gardai were unable to issue fines to those parked in private carparks like supermarkets and hospitals and offices. 24% thought they had the powers to do so and 45% didn’t know.
Over 81% of members have noticed disabled parking bays being abused, higher than the national average.
95% said that abusers of parking bays should face prosecution.
Almost half said that when they reported disabled parking abuse to supermarket or shopping centre staff, action was rarely or very rarely taken.
· In finding space in private carparks, 64% said that hospitals were the most difficult to find disabled parking bays followed by 46% for other private carparks.
81% said that local authorities and an Gardai Siochana needed to do more to tackle parking bay abuse. Almost 70% said their permit had never been inspected by either traffic wardens, the gardai or private car park operators.
96% of members said they wanted traffic wardens and the Gardai to do more inspection of parking permits and parking bays.