Do’s & Dont’s

The need for car park management continues to grow unabated in Ireland and in particular within shopping centre car parks. Due to the persistent abuse of the parking facilities in many shopping centres there is an obvious need for parking enforcement.

This facilitates the easy flow of traffic and helps maintain the health and safety regulations on site and in particular disabled parking.

This year alone there has been a record issue of 10,000 disabled badges, which brings the total issued to motorists to over 60,000. This number of disabled badges is far in excess of the total amount of available disabled bay spaces – both on and off street – throughout Ireland. In light of this, the Irish Wheelchair Association have expressed concerns over the criteria required to successfully apply for a disabled badge, with a view to tightening up these criteria to ensure that only those who really need the concession receive a disabled badge.

Many motorists have claimed to have been caught unaware by the parking regulations for a variety of reasons, such as:

• ‘I didn’t see the signs’
• ‘I didn’t have time to park in a bay’
• ‘I was only a minute’

To improve this situation, here are some simple general tips for motorists to follow in any car park.

1. Pay close attention to the public display notices, these should be your guide to parking legally and safely. Also, pay close attention to the line markings on the ground like Double Yellow Lines and Yellow Boxes, etc.

2. Where the facilities exist, always park in a clearly marked parking space.

3. Never leave your vehicle parked in a set down area. A set down area is there to allow passengers to alight from the vehicle at a convenient point near the entrance. The driver should then immediately seek a clearly marked parking space.

4. Loading bays are for the loading and unloading of goods, and are used by commercially taxed vehicles only. There is usually a grace period of 30 minutes to allow commercial vehicles to load and unload their goods.This grace period must be strictly adhered to.

5. ‘Mother and Child Bays’ are in place to allow easy access for parents who have young children, and should only be used by motorists with such needs.

6. Only park your vehicle in a Disabled Bay if you have a valid (Blue) European Disabled Badge. This disabled badge is an international standard and as such is accepted everywhere. No other badge, unless explicitly stated on the public display notices, should be used.

Because a Disabled Badge allows free on-street parking almost anywhere for its holder, abuse of this concession has arisen. This has resulted in many public authorities considering the idea of rescinding individual badges because of continuous abuse by able-bodied individuals who have access to them. This would obviously greatly inconvenience the genuinely disabled motorist and/or passenger, and completely negates the whole idea of disabled parking.

7. Do not take a chance. If you are unsure about the parking arrangements you should contact the telephone number on the public display notices for further assistance.

If you are a visitor to Ireland, or perhaps a newly qualified driver, and would like more information with regard to parking in Ireland and the penalties for improper parking please contact NCPS at info@ncps.ie or call us on 01-634 9805.