Disabled drivers call for text alert system as they fear violent attack when confronting motorists who park illegally

April 26 2024

Nikki Bradley

The Disabled Drivers Association of Ireland (DDAI) is calling for a new national disabled drivers’ text alert scheme after 88 per cent of disabled motorists reported fear of violence when approaching parking flouters.

The DDAI has launched the proposal to allow disabled drivers to anonymously report other drivers who illegally park in disabled bays.

Fear of physical and verbal abuse were the top reasons disabled drivers stated they would not approach drivers parked illegally in disabled spaces, a DDAI study found.

In total, 88 per cent of the 2,662 people surveyed said it was “too dangerous” to approach other drivers. Ninety-four per cent of those surveyed said they would welcome a text service to alert a local parking warden. And 58pc said they had confronted someone parking in a disabled spot previously and had gotten a negative response.

They were told, “It’s none of your business” and “f***k off”. While one driver said they “thought disabled people didn’t go out at night”.

Respondents said those who parked in disabled spaces were “inconsiderate” and “rude”, but also “sometimes aggressive”. One respondent said if there are a “few (people) in the car, I could be attacked”.

Of those surveyed, 89pc supported the implementation of a text reporting scheme. Respondents noted such a scheme would be “anonymous and safe” and would “eliminate the fear of verbal abuse and harassment”.

Others felt it would make people “think twice” about parking in a disability spot and fear getting a fine.

Richard Ryder, marketing manager with DDAI, said: “Our survey wasn’t confined to our members, we received a huge response from across the community and it’s very clear that people want an opportunity to be able to do something about parking bay abuse, but in a safe way. It’s why we are calling on city and county councils to begin using a text alert scheme in their areas.”

FInd out more about this campaign on the DDAI website


Image shows disability activist Nikki Bradley standing on a disabled parking spot. Photo credit: Andrew Downes/Xposure