A new survey by YourParkingSpace has shown that almost one in three British drivers would challenge someone who was using a disabled parking bay if they thought they shouldn’t be parked there.

The survey also showed that one in ten people want the maximum fine for someone parked in a disabled bay when not displaying a Blue Badge raised up to £1,500. Fines currently stand on average between £40 and £80 in England and Wales, and at £60 in Scotland. Five percent would also like those misusing disabled parking bays to be banned from driving for three months.

While it’s admirable to ensure disabled parking spaces are being used correctly, this could be causing more harm than good, with a major shakeup of the Blue Badge scheme coming in 2019 which makes it much easier for people with hidden disabilities to receive a Blue Badge.

Jane Harris, Director of External Affairs at the National Autistic Society, said: “Last month’s Blue Badge announcement will make a massive difference to the lives of many autistic people and their families across England.

“Autism is often called a hidden disability because the needs of the 600,000 autistic people in England are not always immediately obvious.

“We know the people want to be understanding towards autistic children and adults. But public understanding is nowhere near as good as it should be. Most people don’t realise that just leaving the house can be a challenge for some autistic people, involving detailed preparation – and sometimes overwhelming anxiety about plans going wrong or what will happen if can’t they find a parking space.

“The changes to Blue Badge rules will recognise these hidden difficulties and mean that many more autistic people will qualify for this lifeline. But there’s still a lot of work to do to help people understand what it can mean to be autistic and to experience the world in a more intense way to other people.”

Image: Flickr/Andrew Skudder

 

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