The Blue Badge Scheme is an important service for people with severe mobility problems that enables the car in which badge holders are travelling to park close to their journey's end.
The scheme operates throughout the UK. Blue badges entitle drivers to free parking in pay-and-display bays and allow them to park in disabled zones. The badge holders may also be exempt from limits on parking times imposed on others and can park for up to three hours on single and double yellow lines so long as they are not causing an obstruction.
People who are registered blind, or have a disability that limits their mobility, and drivers with a severe disability in both arms are among those eligible for a blue badge. At least 2.5 million disabled people hold blue badges, which are issued by local authorities, in the UK.
However, I'm lucky if I can even accompany him to walk around in public spaces and feel part of the community lately. He's not well and often can't face lifting my walker in and out of the car. Without this aid, I can only walk about two steps on unfamiliar, uneven ground.
But, here's the big shock: the latest Department for Transport data shows an alarming 167% increase in thefts over the last year.
The Local Government Association estimates a badge could be worth at least £6,000 a year in saved parking fees. They believe thieves steal the badges to sell them on the black market or use them to get free parking. With each low act, thieves are robbing disabled people of their independence.
Of course, if they're caught, the callous criminals are liable for a maximum fine on conviction of £1,000. But so often, they get away with their vile behaviour. Source: BBC.
I prefer stories about how terrible accidents bring out the best in people, like a recent incident when a group of pedestrians lifted a car off a trapped woman. Perhaps the badge thieves don't see the harm they are causing. Perhaps they don't realize the person who owns the car will face a hefty parking fine and the disabled person can't get out and about for months until they can acquire another badge. Wait—will they even be able to get a replacement badge when one already exists in their name?
Can you imagine what it must be like to be trapped in your home?