Reposted from a story By Miles Kemp The Advertiser June 13, 2013 1:11AM
DISABLED drivers are being shut-out of allocated parking spaces because a new permit system is being rorted by those who are not disabled.
Disability advocates have complained that because permits are no longer issued to and used exclusively by an individual disabled driver, people associated with the driver are stealing or “borrowing” them to use for free and easy parking.
Dignity for Disability MLC Kelly Vincent, herself disabled, said under the new system it was becoming harder to find available parks.
“The new system doesn’t identify who the permit holder is,” she said. “We think people with disabilities would get annoyed with family members (or friends) abusing it, since they often get frustrated with other people parking without permits.”
Onkaparinga council director of city development, Terry Sutcliffe, said the system was open to abuse because it was often not possible to find out if the disabled person was being transported in the car when it was parked.
“In most cases, people are not with their vehicles (when they are parked) making it impossible to confirm the holder of the permit is the one using it,” he said.
“A further challenge for us is that there is nothing on the new permits to indicate who the permit is issued to, as was the case with the older permits.”
When alerted to the problem a spokesman for Transport Minister Tom Koutsantonis said: “The permit contains instructions explaining it must be hung from the mirror and can only be used when transporting the permit holder.”
In 2010 the Federal Government changed rules surrounding disabled parking permits to allow others to drive disabled people, but under the condition that the disabled person was in the car at the time it was parked. Despite being presented with evidence that friends, relatives and acquaintances are using the permits without disabled people being transported the system is not being reviewed.
Ms Vincent said a growing dissatisfaction with the disabled parking system was reflected in increasing complaints.
“My office regularly gets complaints,” she said.