Friday 17 November, 2017

$500 fine for misuse of disabled parking

Persons caught using disabled parking spots without proper permission could soon have to shell out $500 for the offence.

This is one of the regulations outlined in the Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill, 2017, which was introduced this morning in the House of Assembly by Ministry of Transport and Works, Michael Lashley.

However, some members of the Barbados Council for the Disabled (BCD) have expressed the view that the proposed fine should be doubled.

The Bill makes provision for the registration of manufacturers of registration number plates, the regulation of all-terrain vehicles, breathalyser testing, disabled parking and for related matters.

It prescribes a fine of $500 upon summary conviction for those who “stop, stand or park a motor vehicle in a parking space that is designated for disabled parking by a disabled parking sign, unless the motor vehicle prominently displays a valid disabled parking permit issued by the Licensing Authority.”

However, Lashley conceded that some members of the disabled community have called for the fine to be increased to $1,000.

“I’ve listened to the disabled community and they said to me…Minister, this $500 is well-intentioned but in some quarters they don’t see it as enough of a deterrent and we can probably look for a fine at $1,000 for parking in a spot for a disabled person.”

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Speaking to Loop News outside Parliament before the start of this morning’s debate, Secretary of the BCD Board, Johnny Tudor, indicated they were hoping for the recommendation of a $1,000 fine to be taken on board.

Meanwhile, Lashley noted from the Parliament floor that with the new amendments to the Act, the authorities will have to work closely with the Barbados Council for the Disabled, which also issues parking passes to its clientele, to ensure there is no misuse of disabled parking signs.

“There are instances where persons, I have been informed, have gotten their hands on permits issued by the Council of the Disabled and abused it by using the vehicle and the pass and parking in spot for a person in the disabled community,” he remarked.

Lashley noted that other issues raised included making more sidewalks and Government buildings wheelchair-accessible.

He appealed to the general public to respect designated parking spaces for persons with disabilities. He urged them to report those who ignore the designation to the authorities, in addition to speaking up when they see persons doing so.

According to the Minister, there are currently 14,000 persons with disabilities and 2,500 persons in wheelchairs in Barbados.