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Blue badge misuse so damaging
6:06pm Monday 30th July 2012 in Our View
For disabled drivers, the blue badge system is a godsend, often making the difference between them being able to get out of their homes and live an independent life and being housebound.
So when able-bodied people abuse the system, they are not only cheating the Council out of parking revenue, they are damaging the reputation of those who genuinely need these permits.
It is right that the Council acts to prosecute these offenders, and that they are named and shamed for their actions. However, the ratio of prosecutions, with just 15 successful ones, to the more than 130 cautions there have been, does seem a little surprising. And it begs the question as to what level of abuse results in a caution and what leads to a court appearance.
With more than 20,000 blue badges in circulation in the district, both figures seem low in comparison to the anecdotal level of complaints about misuse there seems to be.
This irresponsible misuse of blue badges sadly causes damage to the whole system.
There are those who constantly complain about even genuinely disabled people parking using their permits, and this will simply give them more ammunition.
In many cases, the abuse is perpetuated to save the driver or his passenger little more than a few yards walking.
The knowledge that that few yards could result in an extremely expensive and shaming court appearance may make others think twice in the future before falsely using a disabled badge.
If that isn’t enough to stop the abuse, those tempted might like to think about the difficulties faced by disabled drivers every day and not abuse the fact that they do not have to worry about walking a short distance to get their shopping.