Call for increased penalties for misusing disability parks

THERE are more than 15,000 drivers with disability parking permits on the Sunshine Coast.

The majority of the permits can be held for up to five years, and the Caloundra postcode (4551) area has the largest number of permit-holders, at 2898.

Of the total 15,191 permits on the coast, 10,324 are classed as A5 - permanent permits that are renewable every five years.

A total of 3877 drivers held the now defunct R5 permit, the Queensland red permit which was renewable until cancelled.

Considering these figures, it is no surprise our shopping centres provide so many disability parks.

Sunshine Plaza, owned by Lend Lease, said it now offered 88 disability car parks to its customers.

With so many drivers holding permits, should we be introducing harsher penalties for people who misuse disability car parks?

Coast residents were asked this after NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay called for able-bodied "low-lifes" who misuse disability parking to have their demerit points slashed.

Mr Gay felt it was time people were held accountable for inconveniencing those most vulnerable, and suggested a loss of demerit points for those caught illegally parking in the spots.

When The Daily asked its readers what they thought about the issue, the majority were in support of a crackdown.

In the past, fed-up groups have taken it upon themselves to name and shame false disability parkers, but many felt adding a loss of demerit points to the already existing fine would be better.

The point cut would be on top of the existing $220 fine.

Faye Brown said she felt imposing a points loss was a good idea.

"I have a permit, but usually have to park elsewhere, as the spots are full with delivery trucks or idiots," she said on The Daily's Facebook page.

Rita Aitken felt the community should take it even further when punishing drivers who abused the spaces.

"I think cars should be clamped if they are illegally parked in a disabled car park," she said.

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