Tackling abuse of disabled parking spaces


Around the world, parking enforcement agencies battle with illegal use of disabled parking spaces by unauthorised drivers.

On the Gold Coast, along with increasing fines, the city council hopes to ratify a proposal for photo IDs to be displayed with disabled parking permits. According to the Gold Coast News website, Councillor Bob La Castra admitted rorting is a serious problem. It is clear that wrongful use of permits means fewer spaces are available for entitled users. Furthermore, with a majority of fines being waived, motorists are more or less invited to flout the laws without punishment.

The problem is not unique to Australia. In New Jersey, claims of fraud have led the state to introduce a new system of requalification by medical examination every three years rather than renewal by mail. It was felt that the process was almost automatic with no real scrutiny, a point highlighted by cases where motorists were found using permits after recuperation from temporary ailments and even using permits of deceased people.

In San Francisco, a committee convened to evaluate the city’s disabled parking rules has recommended expanding and metering the city’s blue disabled zones. Amongst the committee’s findings outlined in the San Francisco Chronicle was evidence that doctors were selling disabilities certificates “for the going rate of $750”. The committee claims that metering disabled spots would make it easier for people with physical restrictions to find the parking spaces they need.

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