Due to the increasing number of fake blue badge holders fraudulently using disabled bays, Tesco has become the first of the large supermarket chains to use high tech devices to clamp down on these illegally parked shoppers.
While parking in a disabled bay is already a ticketing offence, there has been a sharp rise in the number of fake blue badge holders using disabled bays as a way to avoid a ticket. Tesco’s however has a solution. They have a device that is used in the store that can record the information present on blue badges affixed to new and used cars parked in disabled bays. This information is then sent automatically to the parking company that runs the car park, in this case Horizon, who have the authority to check the DVLA database to see if a blue badge is genuine and if not then a ticket is issued.
Tesco’s are spearheading this campaign against fraudulent blue badge holders as a result of the increasing number of complaints from the public, both disabled and able-bodied, who are frankly getting sick of the abuse of the system. There is also the issue that if people are willing to fake a disabled badge to park next to the supermarket entrance rather than walking a short distance like everybody else, what other lengths will they go to? It begs the question whether their insurance policy is accurate, their registration documents and MOT are up to date. Many disabled people have their vehicles altered by the motor trade to their individual needs. They require disabled parking bays with larger parking area and ease of access to the store and are rightfully annoyed when they cannot use them which interferes with their day to day lives.
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The new high tech system to combat this fake blue badge menace is the brainchild of Tesco’s operations manager, Cat Parkinson who is responsible for Tesco’s car parks. She understands only too well the issues of living with disability and the help that disabled car parking spaces can give as her parents taught at a special needs school. She spent considerable time discussing the issue with disabled servicemen and women, students and family members including staff who lived with a disability. In her words “disabled parking can be vital to the customers experience and is unfortunately often overlooked. This system should hopefully change that.”
The pilot scheme for this system originally covered seventy stores and was so successful that it is now nationwide. Hopefully the other big supermarket chains will follow suit and install their own preventative measures and help make the disabled bays more accessible to those who really need them.