There’s nothing more frustrating than seeing someone who isn’t disabled park in a disabled car park at a shopping centre. However, Queenslanders who take disability car parking spaces could soon find themselves slapped with a demerit point penalty on top of existing fines.
The state government is reportedly considering tougher penalties for drivers who use the spaces without the required permit, The Courier Mail reports.
It comes as new figures obtained by The Courier Mail reveal nearly 140 drivers every month are hit with fines for using the specifically designated parking spots.
Transport Minister Mark Bailey has called the actions of these drivers “arrogant and reprehensible”.
“I’m happy to take up the issue of demerit point penalties with my department and discuss options, in consultation with our transport accessibility reference groups,” he told the newspaper.
According to the report, a total of 3900 fines of up to $261 have been issued by police and Brisbane parking officers since January 2016.
No Permit No Park campaign group spokeswoman Elisha Wright said Queensland needs to follow NSW’ lead — where demerit points have been imposed since 2014.
“There have been a number of surveys about fines versus demerit points and all of them have pretty much concluded that people fear losing a demerit point more than they do having to pay a fine,” Wright told The Courier Mail. “If other states can do it, there’s no reason that Queensland can’t.”
It comes after one Sunshine Coast resident in Australia said people shouldn’t be so harsh to judge those who use disabled car park spots.
Taking to Facebook, Shannell Beriman explained how she was surprised to see a rude note left on her car as she and her disabled daughter parked in a disabled spot while visiting a Kmart store. Beriman noted that her daughter is disabled and has an authentic disability permit – which was displayed clearly on her car as the pair visited the Stockland Caloundra centre earlier this week.
On this particular day, Beriman’s daughter, who usually requires a wheelchair to get around, was feeling better than normal, so they decided not to unpack it from the car for their short visit. This is where Beriman says the problem began.
When the pair returned from shopping, they noticed a big letter left on their car. It read: “Why are you parking in a disabled car park when both you and your daughter are perfectly capable of walking? Wrong – shame on you for using the sticker ungraciously”.
As you could imagine, it came as a shock to both, with Beriman pleading for people to think before they judge.