CC0 Public Domain
Vision impaired drivers are currently not allowed to park in a disabled spot in Queensland, prompting the RACQ to go into bat for them.
The State’s peak motoring body lobbied for people who are visually impaired during a parliamentary hearing into the Disability Parking Permit Scheme this week.
RACQ spokesperson Paul Turner said the Club gave evidence at the hearing in support of broadening the current legislation to include permanently or temporarily (for at least 6 months) blind people, to apply for disability parking permits and use disability parking spaces.
“The current laws prohibiting people with a vision impairment from being able to legally park in disability spots is putting them risk. This is as much a legal issue as it is a road safety issue,” Mr Turner said.
“According to Guide Dogs Queensland, 63 percent of blind and visually impaired Queenslanders have been hit or experienced a near-collision in the past five years and more than 93 percent were concerned for their safety in carparks. Those are statistics we can’t ignore.
“New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania already allow people with a vision impairment to be issued a disabled parking permit and it’s about time Queensland followed suit.”
Mr Turner said while the Club supported an increase to the fine for illegally parking in a disability space without a permit from $266 to $533, it opposed an idea to introduce demerit points.
“We believe demerit points have a place when it comes to road safety, but not in this case,” he said.
“What’s more critical is enforcement and education around disability parking.
“If people think there’s a chance they will be caught for parking illegally in a disabled parking space, they are less likely to do the wrong thing.”