Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Ceisteanna (136)

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

143 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Transport his plans to increase fines or other enforcement measures for persons who park illegally in places designated for disabled drivers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47424/10]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Transport)

Last July I launched a report on the Disabled Parking Scheme which made a number of recommendations to improve the operation of the Scheme. This Report considered the question of whether fines for illegal parking in disabled parking spaces should be increased. The Report noted that the current fixed charge of €80 which applies to illegal parking in a designated disabled person's parking bay is double the amount of fixed charge that applies to any other illegal parking offence. This charge increases by 50% if paid after 28 days and within 56 days after issue of the fixed charge notice. If unpaid within the 56-day period, court proceedings are initiated and, on conviction, substantial fines, and/or a prison term is available to the court.

While the level of fine imposed on conviction in any individual case is at the discretion of the court, since 2006 the court can impose a fine up to a maximum of €1,000 for a first offence. For a second or subsequent such offence, a person is liable to a fine not exceeding €2,000 and if the offence is a third or subsequent such offence committed within 12 months the Court can impose a fine not exceeding €2,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 months or both. In addition, in respect of any road traffic offence a judge has discretion to impose disqualification under section 27 of the Road Traffic Act 1961.

Given these strong penalties already in place, the Report did not recommend an increase in the penalties for illegal parking in a disabled parking space, and I agree with this conclusion.