Council for the disabled complains of abuse of - 12/9/2004

From "The Times" Sep 11th

Reserved parking bays
Maryanne DeBono

Respect for each other is the key. Please, be considerate.

Reserved parking bays for disabled persons in public places ensure safe and equal access to goods and services, access which is taken for granted by most non-disabled persons. Parking reserved for disabled persons is not merely a convenience; it is a need and a legal requirement.

Blue Sticker Permits entitle holders to park in bays especially reserved for them in Malta, Gozo and Europe. These permits are issued by the Police Commissioner on recommendation of the National Commission for Persons with Disability.

There are rules for these reserved parking spaces that should be observed by all. Parking in these reserved spaces is allowed only when the disabled person who holds the permit (Blue Sticker) is using the vehicle. A permit is issued to a person with a qualifying impairment, and the permit may be used in any vehicle, which that person is using at the time. One of the criteria which must be met for a Blue Sticker permit to be issued is that the impairment stops the applicant from walking 200 feet without stopping.

Making a false statement or giving false information on an application for a permit is more shameful when one considers the shortage of parking space in Malta. The Maltese Council of Disabled Persons receives many complaints from disabled persons regarding abusive use of reserved parking bays in public places. In New York, making a false statement or providing misinformation to obtain a parking permit for a disabled person is a violation of the penal law, and is punishable by fines from $250 to $1,000. These penalties also apply to doctors providing certifications, as well as applicants.

Furthermore, fines can range from $50 to $150 for illegally parking in a space or access aisle reserved for disabled persons. One should also avoid parking in the access aisle or striped area next to a reserved parking space - it is not a parking zone. Wheelchair users and specially equipped vehicles need it for access.

Rights have their obligations and with the parking permit goes the responsibility for making sure it is used properly. If disabled persons misuse the parking permit or willingly allow another to misuse it, the permit may be revoked.

The most common misuse is when someone other than the disabled person uses the permit to park in a space reserved for disabled persons. These parking permits are valid only when the disabled person who received the permit is driving the vehicle or is a passenger in it.

At present Blue Stickers are being renewed and the new ones will include an original photo (photocopies are not accepted) and the signature of the disabled person to whom it was issued. This should lessen abuse. In Malta both police officers and local wardens are responsible for curtailing this illegal parking. Reports of abuse should include details such as the car registration number and should be forwarded to the police and the National Commission for Persons with Disability.


Use reserved spaces only if you have this permit and only when the disabled person is driving or riding in the vehicle. Even family members cannot use the permit if the holder is not using the vehicle.

Don't allow others to misuse your permit.

Ms Debono is secretary of the Maltese Council of Disabled Persons.

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