The Disabled Drivers Association of Ireland has urged the government to amend existing legislation to allow the Gardaí and traffic wardens to fine drivers who park illegally in accessible parking spaces in private car parks.
The organization today launched its Bay Watch campaign, which aims to draw attention to the continued abuse of disabled parking in general.
ADHD communications manager Richard Ryder said people with disabilities plan their trips and when they arrive at their destination and find they can’t park there, they “go home” because there’s nothing else they can do.
Speaking to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, he said: “Their working life may be ruined as well. People need to realise it’s very stressful for people.”
He said laws needed to be introduced that would allow gardaí, or traffic wardens, to issue parking tickets in private parking lots.
Mr Ryder said he had already raised the issue with private car park owners and told them changes were needed.
“The amount of people who email me on a weekly basis to say that they go to the local shopping centre to try and get a space and they can never get one. They ask ‘what can they do’, I say ‘is it a private space?’, they say ‘yeah’ and I say ‘well there is nothing you can do only get on to the management of that centre and ask them to help out'” he said, reports RTE.
Mr Ryder said today is about addressing the loophole in the legislation and identifying people and telling them not to park in disabled spaces.
A survey by Coyne Research, conducted in conjunction with research on ADHD members, has highlighted the lack of awareness of existing private parking legislation not only among the general public, but also among disabled drivers themselves.
It showed that 42% of respondents believed a traffic warden or police officer could fine someone who parked in a private space in an accessible space.
Seven out of 10 of these polls said that those who park illegally in disabled bays should be prosecuted, not just fined.
A separate survey of 800 ADHD members found that a third (33%) were unaware that Gardaí did not have the authority to issue tickets for illegal parking in private car parks, while 95% said those who have parked illegally in accessible parking spaces, they should be prosecuted.
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