More MS news articles for April 2002

Crackdown on disabled parking permit abuse

The government is to consider a crackdown on the abuse of disabled parking permits.

The number of drivers using the badges has doubled in the past decade.

One in 14 drivers now has a permit.

Disability groups have said that there are so many badges in circulation that genuinely disabled drivers are often unable to find spaces.

During a recent spot-check in Liverpool, eight out of 14 drivers stopped were found to be misusing their badges.

Douglas Campbell, executive director of the Disabled Drivers’ Association, said: “We are getting areas where disabled bays are packed solid because there are so many people demanding to use them.”

“We think it is increasingly because they want to avoid car park charges,” he added.

Traffic wardens are increasingly powerless to catch permit cheats, as the badges can be used by able-bodied people to pick up or drop off disabled car owners.

The government is expected to look carefully at the issuing of “discretionary” permits to those who have permanent trouble walking.

These permits, often issued with just a GP’s letter, are frequently misused.

In some areas there are four times as many discretionary permits as automatic ones in operation.

The transport department is expected to announce how it will tackle the issue in the summer.