The Scottish Parliament has introduced new laws that mean local authorities will have much greater power to clamp down on people that they believe are abusing the grey badge system of disabled parking permits. The new laws also mean that permits will be cancelled when a person dies, or is no longer allowed to use them, as the government says that it believes thousands of relatives and family members keep hold of badges and continue to use them.
The grey badge enables drivers to be able to use specially designated disabled parking bays. Not only are these typically located closer to shop entrances, but additional concessions such as longer parking hours and free parking are often also extended to badge holders. Disabled badge fraud has, as a result, become increasingly common and it is something that the Scottish parliament obviously take seriously.
Blue badge holders do not necessarily have to be driving a vehicle in order to be able to use their badge, but they must be a passenger in the car that displays them. If somebody with a badge is driven to the shops, or to any other area where disabled parking bays are available, the badge can be displayed as long as the badge holder gets out of the car.
Disabled parking spots are often misused, and not only by those that illegally use the badges, but by drivers that do not have badges at all. While this is policed and marshalled in public car parks, and at roadsides, where blue badge holders are permitted to park on double yellow lines and in other areas that other drivers are not, it is an annoyance in private car parks and one that is often overlooked, unless the car park owners employ their own staff to keep an eye on the cars that come in and out.
Local authorities will be able to cancel the badges belonging to anybody that dies, and they will be given greater powers to take action against people that abuse the system too. Last year, approximately 4,000 badges were not returned after the holder had died, signifying that they are being kept by family members and may be being used illegally.