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Park your excuses elsewhere!
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Park your excuses elsewhere!

Photo: V. Kontić

Within the framework of the European Mobility Week we are presenting the awareness raising campaign »Park your excuses elsewhere! Not on spaces reserved for the disabled.

« on wrongful parking on spaces which are reserved for people with disabilities.

The Faculty of Criminal Justice and Security at the University of Maribor carried out a survey, headed by assistant professor Dr Aleš Bučar Ručman, on (il)legal parking on spaces reserved for the disabled. The survey revealed a great lack of social consciousness and solidarity towards the disabled people and parking on spaces reserved for the disabled. Based on the survey results the Faculty of Criminal Justice and Security at the University of Maribor in cooperation with the Slovenian Traffic Safety Agency and the City of Ljubljana prepared an awareness raising campaign with which partners wish to introduce long-term changes in the behaviour of drivers in Slovenia.

The survey results show that the conditions in relation to wrongful parking on spaces reserved for the disabled are worrying and that the official statistics greatly underestimate the severity of the problem. During the monitoring period there were 608 parked vehicles recorded on parking spaces reserved for the disabled people with as many as 63% of them without the appropriate disability parking card. On some parking spaces reserved for the disabled the percentage of the wrongfully parked vehicles even exceeded 90%. The offenders namely mostly parked their vehicles on spaces for the disabled when there were no other free (»regular«) parking spaces (71%) around the space reserved for the disabled, but still 20.5% of the violators used this parking space even when there were 1 to 3 free parking spaces in the immediate vicinity and 8.5% even with 4 or more free parking spaces. Among other things the survey also defined the typical offender profile: a man aged between 30 to 50 years, the value of his vehicle estimated between 1000 to 5000 euro, his vehicle was parked on the space reserved for the disabled up to 15 minutes, he was alone in the vehicle and had a Slovenian licence plate.

The awareness rising campaign is addressing the disabled parking issue

Based on the survey project partners have prepared a project under the slogan »PARK YOUR EXCUSES ELSEWHERE! Not on spaces reserved for the disabled.« to systematically address the issue of wrongful parking on spaces reserved for people with disabilities. Through the project the partners want to highlight the worrying results of the survey showing a low level of regard for social norms and lack of fundamental solidarity towards the disabled people. The aim is to raise awareness on the disabled parking issue and by doing so to promote the improvement of the conditions in traffic and the wider society. Partners are preparing activities addressing different target groups and through them they are going to try to affect long-term changes in the driving culture in Slovenia.

In Ljubljana the addressed issue of the handicapped and other people with disabilities falls under the purview of the Municipal Police Department of the City of Ljubljana and the public company Ljubljanska parkirišča in tržnice d.o.o. as well as the Council for the removal of architectural and communication barriers of the City of Ljubljana, which functions as the Mayor’s advisory body. Sašo Rink, the head of the Council, said: »The infringements reveal a general lack of empathy and social consciousness that such parking spaces are not an end in themselves but are necessary for the disabled people to be able to move about in the society with dignity. It is not only a symptom of the general disregard of traffic rules but largely a consequence of the general automation of the society in which the individual himself is most important and the needs of his fellow man are unfortunately often neglected.«

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