IT goes without saying that the overwhelming majority of motorists are totally respectful of disabled drivers – and their needs. The issue, as is so often the case, is a thoughtless minority whose selfishness undermines the legitimacy of the much-cherished Blue Badge scheme which is a lifeline to the less mobile.
The problem is twofold. First, those individuals who use the parking privileges afforded by this special permit when they have no legal entitlement to do so. Second, those perfectly health and drivers who, for their own inconvenience, hog spaces that have been specifically designated for the disabled.
Neither is acceptable and The Yorkshire Post congratulates those councils in the region, like Sheffield, Leeds, Bradford and Kirklees, that have embraced Rotherham’s pioneering work and are now clamping down on those offenders whose actions have, on occasion, forced drivers with disabilities to abandon their journeys.
Yet, at the same time, this newspaper condemns those local authorities, predominantly in rural areas, which appear to be turning a blind eye to such abuse. Though genteel Harrogate is famed for its respectfulness, it beggars belief that not a single fine has been issued for Blue Badge misuse in the past three years.
However, though the more enlightened councils are taking offenders to the courts with greater frequency, the penalties are still modest. How about local authorities taking a principled decision to publish details of every successful conviction? With luck, the humiliation of this badge of shame will deter others from doing likewise.