What happened when we teamed up with Queensland Police?

Originally published under

Disability Action Week 2014 a Success!

On
September 26, 2014

Information, Media Coverage, Positive Experiences #InclusiveCommunities, @QPSMedia, Disability Access, Queensland Police Service
Friday Wright

After a few inter-agency meetings we surprised Queenslanders with something they weren’t expecting. For thousands it was a show of support. For a few others, it was an infringement notice and an education in their road rules.

203         Stopping in a parking area for people with disabilities

         (1)   A driver must not stop in a parking area for people with disabilities unless:

                (a)    the driver’s vehicle displays a current parking permit for people with disabilities; and

               (b)    the driver complies with the conditions of use of the permit.

Offence provision.

Note   Driver’s vehicle and parking permit for people with disabilities are defined in the dictionary.

         (2)   A parking area for people with disabilities is a length or area of a road:

                (a)    to which a permissive parking sign displaying a people with disabilities symbol applies; or

               (b)    to which a people with disabilities parking sign applies; or

                (c)    indicated by a road marking (a people with disabilities road marking) that consists of, or includes, a people with disabilities symbol.

Post by Queensland Police Service.

Naturally plenty of opposers (sometimes referred to as ablesists) had their say about it. There were the cynics too who are only happy when it rains. But for the most, people were happy to see that there was some focus on it.

Why so many cautions? After much discussion we agreed that education is key here. We don’t want it to become a point of resentment. We want people to understand that when they block access to people who need it, they exclude them.

Exclusion from our community is discrimination. We are trying to promote #InclusiveCommunities. So the strategy of giving cautions when a driver was present to be educated was taken.

68 cautions and 28 infringement notices issued for using a disability bay without a permit. 19 other infringements were also issued.

Some people feel it’s not a good enough job.

Let me give you some facts.

In 2012 a total of 894 infringements related to disability parking or permits were issued in Queensland. That’s an average of 17 per week. Across the whole of Queensland.
This increased in 2013 to an average of 23 per week. Partly due to an increase in officers out on the beat and partly thanks to awareness raised by our campaigners.
Bearing in mind we opted for the educational approach and went with cautions as much as possible… take the 28 (already above the average) and the 68 and you have 96.
That’s 73 more people than average for the week now know that if they park without a permit in a parking bay designated for people with disabilities they will get an infringement notice. They now know it’s not cool. They’ll also share the info with their friends. No one likes to have to pay a fine.

I think considering the huge week that Queensland Police Service had last week, that’s is an outstanding effort and they should congratulated and shown a bit of gratitude.
The most interesting part of the entire campaign has been the social media interactions.
Here are a few comments I’ve selected to expand on (no identities)

What if I got a broken leg…..Haven’t got time to get paper work. Police should just use common sense

Please remember you guys have made it near impossible to get a disabled placard and some people have recurring illnesses without the funds necessary to keep the ability to get a placard.

What happens when you fine the disabled mother who couldn’t afford her own disability placard because she had to feed her kids first?

 

I sympathise with people who have difficulty getting a permit. It’s not as simple as it seems. You don’t have to keep paying for a permit once you have been approved though so this comment intrigues me. I do provide assistance for people who have difficulty applying for a permit however the doctor’s medical report is the evidence required and they must state that you fit the eligibility criteria which, for the ADPP is:

To apply for an ADPP, the applicant must be a Queensland resident and meet 1 of the following eligibility criteria:

  • must be unable to walk and always require the use of a wheelchair
  • their ability to walk is severely restricted by a permanent medical condition or disability
  • their ability to walk is severely restricted by a temporary medical condition or disability.

A temporary medical condition or disability must be of at least 6 months duration, as certified by a doctor or occupational therapist.

A temporary medical condition should include the condition or injury AND the rehabilitation time before the person will be able to walk again without being severely restricted. A broken hip takes quite some time to heal and rehabilitate. A broken toe does not severely restrict your ability to walk. Okay, that’s not a medical professional opinion but I’ve had a broken toe. Well I’ve had a few. I still get them now. I’d trade Parkinson’s for living the rest of my life with a broken toe

while i agree that people should be fined over this, there is much worse out there then this

I’m sure there’s something better to do with your time. It sucks that people use the spaces but is it really something the police have to get involved with.

Riiiighht….. Because that is such a huge issue for public safety

watse of time parking violation not a real crime thats why the council have parking inspector s seriously

not much real crime going on at moment ?

Tying up police resources. Whilst it is an issue I’m sure that their time would be better spent catching actual criminals.

Maybe clamp down on criminal activity that is a bit more concerning to the public than people (usually for a half-valid reason) using disabled parking bays? Go for a stroll around suburbs like woodridge at night and you’ll see exactly what i’m talking about. Just a citizen’s opinion however.

Yes that’s right. There is much worse. There’s also much less. How amazing is it that our Police service can be so multi talented they can handle the big and the small stuff at the same time. This is more than just writing out a parking fine. It’s ensuring people with disabilities have the right to inclusion in our communities. The moment we start picking and choosing which laws we want to enforce and which we think we shouldn’t bother with is the moment the system falls apart. Real criminals? What if it were your rights being restricted? You’d have a lot to say then.

My sister stopped in one to drop someone off with their special needs child and got fined $422 and lost 3 points. She didn’t leave the car, it was running, and she had her seatbelt still on, ready to leave. It was a bit harsh of a penalty I think.

No, the infringement is $227 and only recently increased to that. So that is NOT what she was fined for. There’s clearly more to that story.

So has the disabled got the right to park in a normal carpark as well with their disable sticker on their windscreen. Are they gonna get fined for parking in a non disable park.

I have no words. I just…. %&$*(W$%$^%&%^#%)$Q^*%(Q#&*%q#&
We let these people vote? And breathe?

Agree fully, however most of the disabled spots are empty and the regular parking is full. I see a need to reduce the overkill of disabled parking at shopping centres especially. Even my local servo has one and all the parks are next to the door.

Overkill? Dude, if you see a space free, it means it’s AVAILABLE FOR SOMEONE WHO NEEDS IT! Oops I’m getting ragey again. Yes your service station has one, because guess what!? The car I drive with my disability and my permit NEEDS PETROL! I know right! Imagine a person with a disability not only being able to drive but getting petrol too! And goodness forbid I might ever stop in at the service station for a bottle of milk on my way home from at 10pm at night. I’ll play along though, here are a few facts. Currently 3.8% of the Australian population holds a disability parking permit. That will continue to rise as our population continues to age (based on disability age demographics disability increases largely from 60yrs+). The Access to Premises Standards currently specific in the building code that only 1.5% to 2% depending on the building type, needs to be allocated to disability accessible parking. So, lets talk about that overkill again.

Then there were the hundreds of comments from people asking for parents with prams parking to be enforced as well…. sigh… We’ve been there. Do I need to do it again?

Okay… let’s put it like this.. If you are going to compare parenting to having a disability, you’ve just about gone and insulted every person who has ever parented in history. I have kids. Yes I loved the marketing approach of accessibility for parents in this very fast paced world where both parents now need to work to manage a household budget. However I was never excluded from my community as a parent like I have been with a disability. Until there’s legislation to prevent discrimination of parents with prams o.O then I don’t think you’ll see police doing much about that.

And of course… my very own double edged sword. Police in disability parking.

I once took up issue about an ambulance using a disability bay. I do not care to recall the horror of how badly that went. It was not received well and lets just say there are people in emergency services who have long memories and they still to this day will not let me forget it.

But it was justified. Then I followed up on an issue with a police vehicle parked across two bays. Turned out that car park was actually closed. However… there is something really important you need to know about these things…..

There is an exemption for emergency vehicles. There are also rules and guidelines to those exemptions and while I have every respect and admiration for our emergency services and the job they do, and I understand the need for them to have the vehicle as close by as possible in case they get that call while they’re trying to grab a quick coffee on the run between jobs…. I do encourage them to remember the policies and to avoid taking the one and only bay when there are alternatives available within reason. It’s not often I see it happen though.

AUSTRALIAN ROAD RULES – REG 307

 

307—Stopping and parking exemption for police and emergency vehicles and authorised persons

(1)         A provision of Part 12 does not apply to the driver of a police vehicle or emergency vehicle if, in the circumstances—

(a)         the driver is taking reasonable care; and

(b)         it is reasonable that the provision should not apply.

Note 1—

“Emergency vehicle” and “police vehicle” are defined in the dictionary.

Note 2—

Part 12 deals with restrictions on stopping and parking.

(2)         A provision of Part 12 does not apply to a driver who is an authorised person driving a vehicle in the course of his or her duty as an authorised person if, in the circumstances—

(a)         the driver is taking reasonable care; and

(b)         it is reasonable that the provision should not apply.

It’s been a long road to get to this point. I’m feeling really positive about the progress.

I’d like to note particularly, gratitude for their input and assistance with making our campaign for Disability Action Week 2014 happen,

Public Safety Business Agency Executive Director Media Stephen Zeppa
Queensland Police Assistant Commissioner Mike Keating
Department of Transport and Main Roads Anne Kirby
Department of Communities Queensland Meredith Bray
The entire Queensland Police Service

And most of all, Constable Christie May, who has gone above and beyond to help me and the entire disability community feel valued and included. Operation No Permit No Park in Brisbane City has demonstrated that because one woman refused to give up, and a police officer recognised they could make a difference, team work is changing people’s behaviours.

I can only hope somewhere along the way, we manage to change attitudes as well.

While out and about last week taking photos of a car without a permit a passerby says, “Out on your parking patrol again hey. Nothing better to do?”

Me: “Yes I do actually but I couldn’t do it because this person took the last available space and by the time I walked from where I had to park to where I had to go, it was too late.”

Him: “You know you’re not making any friends going on with your rants all the time and taking photos.”

Me: “I’m not doing this to make friends. I’m doing this to make it right.”

I walked away. Cos I have anger issues. Stupid people make me angry.

 

 

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