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  • Scope Charity Wants Crackdown On Blue Badge Fraud

    Due to the inaction on the part of local authorities, many able-bodied motorists have been using disabled parking permits illegally.

    An investigation uncovered dozens upon dozens of English councils failing to cite motorists for illegally using these permits. The Department for Transport (DfT) were informed by 61 out of 152 authorities that there is no policy in place that can prosecute drivers who unlawfully use the blue badge scheme

    Scope is a disability charity, and its head of policy James Taylor said there needs to be some clampdown on the systemís misuse. According to disability campaigners, the number of people failing to obey the rules and the councilsí refusal to do their duty is a major failure for the interests of disabled people as well as the taxpayers.

    Tayler said there are a significant number of disabled people who use their blue badges to live an independent life, and itís important that the misuse is addressed anytime it happens. He said councils need to determine who is and who isnít disabled, and take the matter seriously.

    Blue badges let people who are disabled park free of charge in both pay and display bays and for three hours in yellow lines. London holders are also exempt from paying the congestion charge.

    Campaigners have noted that blue badge fraud is a criminal offence.

    According to the 1984 Road Traffic Regulation Act, councils can impose a fine up to £1,000 for badge misuse. The 2013 Disabled Persons Parking Badge Act enables authorities the ability to cancel badges and lets parking enforcers to impose fines of badged that are misused, canceled, fake or out of date.

    Councils throughout England cited nearly 900 motorists for misuse of the blue badge in the 12 months that ended in March. In 98 percent of the cases, drivers had used another personís blue badge.

    RAC Foundation Director of Motoring Steve Gooding said despite the stiff penalties imposed for the abuse of blue badges; it hasnít stopped people because councils refuse to prosecute them. Gooding said this isnít a huge crime wave in the country, but the systemís abuse is leading to negative feelings and could disrupt the entire program, even for those who need it.
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