Disabled drivers warned over blue badge thefts
The amount of blue badges stolen across the UK has tripled over the last three years.
According to the Local Government Association (LGA), who has analysed data from the Department for Transport, there were 2,056 cases of blue badges that were reported stolen in the UK last year, compared to 656 in 2013.
The number of people that have been caught using a badge to park dishonestly, has nearly tripled in just five years. In 2015 there were 985 successful prosecutions, compared with 330 in 2010.
The badges are being stolen to be sold on the black market, where they can make anything up to £1,500 each or to be used by the thieves themselves to get free parking.
There are at least 2.4 million disabled people who have blue badges in England, which are issued by local authorities. Blue badges are only allowed to be used when either the holder of the badge is driving the vehicle, or they are a passenger when the badge is used. Misuse of a blue badge is a criminal offence.
Some local authorities across the UK have been running a blue badge amnesty scheme, inviting people to hand in blue badges that have been used illegally to park in disabled bays.
Making it easier to get from A to B
Blue badges often provide a lifeline to disabled people, allowing them to park for free in many car parks and for up to three hours on yellow lines. They also exempt blue badge holders from having to pay the London congestion charge.
While having a blue disabled badge can help to give disabled drivers or passengers the freedom to travel where they want, a wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV) is specially modified so that a disabled person can use their wheelchair inside the vehicle without the need to transfer to the vehicle’s seat.
WAVs can simply transform the lives of people with a variety of different disabilities and also help their caregivers. It can save a lot of time as the wheelchair user can just use a lift system or a ramp to access and exit the vehicle.
WAVs offer disabled people a safe and comfortable way to travel. The vehicle’s in-floor ramps, wheelchair ties and restraints mean that WAVs provide safety and ensure the comfort of a disabled person and the rest of their party while travelling.
Whether you are just planning on doing local journeys or maybe thinking about a holiday, by hiring a WAV you can avoid the stress of finding appropriate accessible public transport to meet your needs that will get you from A to B comfortably and safely. Gowrings Mobility have a wide range of WAVs available to hire for short or long periods. To find out more call us on 0845 608 8020 or 01635 588942 or contact us online.