Blue badge, councils, parking, driving, DriveWrite Automotive, cars, motoring

MUSTN’T GRUMBLE: Blue Badge Bandits

Mustn’t Grumble’ is an occasional feature that will appear when I, rather than explode, will find it necessary to have a very British rant: No.2. Blue Badge Abuse:  We all complain about rules and regulations, especially when they are clearly absurd, as is so often the case. Sometimes though – just sometimes – officialdom gets it right. This is the case with the Blue Badge scheme which allows drivers with disabilities to park more conveniently.

Some of these ailments are self-inflicted, in truth, like over-consumption of pies, but by and large it is a great plan for those who need a little more help. Try watching a wheelchair user with an adapted car dismount from the vehicle and think yourself lucky.

The downside of this of course is that when councils or government offer helpful schemes like this there will always be churlish, hedge-born, hugger-muggers who abuse it, either by simply ignoring the signs or using some old codger’s badge illicitly.

I expect we have all seen it. Able-bodied men and – yes – women taking up a parking spot designed for disabled drivers as if entitled. Speak to them of their transgression and you will likely get a mouthful of abuse. This is because they are selfish bottom-feeders who couldn’t give a monkey’s pink butt for society. There’s a lot of them about.

This should not stop dutiful members of the public having a stern word, although it is understandable that some folk will not unreasonably be concerned for their immediate well-being. If you can you should; but equally, why should you?

This is yet another case of rules being made but not enforced. An investigation has revealed that dozens of English councils fail to prosecute motorists for fraudulently using disabled parking permits.

Around half of local authorities told the Department for Transport they do not have a policy for prosecuting drivers who abuse the blue badge scheme.

Needless to say the Local Government Association wheeled out some worthy to make excuses of either the ‘working hard to combat it’ or the ‘shortage of money’ type. Yet wait; didn’t I just mention that many councils admitted that they don’t have a policy? The police don’t want to know. They’ll say things like ‘It’s not our job chummy; blame the council and did you know your rear brake light isn’t working’.

For ordinary law-abiding citizens who drive and park courteously this sort of thing should rankle given that cameras abound that want to extract large sums from the motoring public. What’s worse? Inadvertently and briefly going at five miles per hour over the limit or denying a Blue Badge parking space to someone who really needs it?

With councils taking more and more money in taxes but offering fewer services for it we should all be up in arms about this. We pay them to do a job but, of course, this being England we don’t like to make a fuss do we? All manner of social abuse takes place before our eyes but still, mustn’t grumble eh? Could be worse.

Well, it will be soon.

Geoff Maxted