No longer valid: New versions of the disabled drivers’ ‘blue badge’ have had the EU artwork removed – but users have yet to be told where it will still be accepted.
Disabled drivers using their ‘blue badge’ in foreign countries after Brexit may find themselves hit with a parking fine – because the Tory government hasn’t told them where it is still valid.
The Tory government has changed the layout of the blue badge, removing the EU symbols – but using nine foreign languages to make it appear to be still valid abroad.
But in fact this will vary from country to country.
The details are available in David Hencke’s article (see the link below).
As a disabled person, Mrs Mike has a ‘blue badge’ – but I know that she has not been informed of any changes to its validity in EU countries.
And while it is unlikely that we will go driving in foreign countries any time soon, the government’s failure to notify us of expected changes is an act of extreme bad faith.
It isn’t quite as bad as a lie – but it might as well be.
The Government has sneakily already decided that Britain has left the EU as far as 2.35 million disabled blue badge holders are concerned.
My new card for my wife issued this week has been stripped of its EU symbols even before we have left the EU. It appears to reassure people by using nine foreign languages to describe it as a disabled parking card.
But investigating the real position of disabled driving post a “No Deal” Brexit this is totally misleading and could easily end up with holiday makers being fined in some European countries for illegal parking.
At present as a member of the EU all UK blue badge holders can get concessionary parking in virtually all European countries. If they hire a car they can take the blue badge with them as it is not tied to a particular vehicle.
Once Britain leaves with a No Deal using this card will vary from country to country.
It has long been a stereotype that the British consider themselves polite and considerate, in contrast to the French – who are characterised as the opposite.
But a Parisian bus driver has put both his own people and many Brits to shame with his response to passengers’ indifference when a wheelchair user tried to board his bus.
Scandalised by their attitude, he cleared the vehicle. Rather than allowing one disabled person to be left behind while the able-bodied rode in comfort, he made sure the wheelchair-user had the entire bus to himself.
If only British service-providers displayed the same sentiment!
It seems to This Writer that attitudes towards those with long-term illnesses and disabilities might buck up sharpish if the general public knew they would be penalised for any lack of consideration.
Even though that would be an improvement, the situation is still a source of sadness.
Care for those who are less able to manage should be a part of our nature.
Perhaps we have been brainwashed by the example of our leaders, who seem to believe that they are somehow better than the rest of us because they have the privileges of wealth and inheritance.
But a society that believes such simple courtesy undesirable – like the selfish creed of the Conservatives – is utterly worthless.
A French driver has been praised for kicking every single passenger off his bus after they failed to make room for a man in a wheelchair.
Francois Le Berre, who has multiple sclerosis, was waiting to get on a bus in a Paris suburb, but none of the passengers would move to allow him space.
The bus driver, who has not been named, noticed the problem and took the unprecedented step of asking every single passenger to leave the bus.
He then allowed Mr Le Berre to come on board and drove off with him as the sole passenger.
A tweet describing the incident was shared by a group called “Accessible Pour Tous” – which translates as ‘accessible for all’ on behalf of Mr Le Berre.
It has been shared more than 5,000 times and ‘liked’ by more than 10,000 people, with many congratulating the bus driver and criticising the passengers who failed to move.
1.26 million now receive a disability exemption from vehicle tax, compared to 1.35 million in 2015
The number of disabled motorists has fallen by nearly 80,000 in two years. Figures show a 6 per cent drop in disabled people receiving an exemption from vehicle tax since 2015, with 1.267 million people now registered.
While there is no evidence that any one cause is behind the drop, the figures prompted fresh criticism of Government reforms to disability benefits. The data, from the Motability charity, echo other statistics that show a fall in people being eligible to claim personal independence payments (PIP). 59,000 disabled motorists have lost their eligibility for an adapted vehicle since the switch from disability living allowance (DLA) to PIP in 2013.
Figures released after a written parliamentary question from Labour MP Peter Dowd show 1,266,523 disabled people received an exemption from vehicle tax as of February this year, compared to 1,345,446 in February 2015. People can claim the exemption if they receive the higher rate of the mobility component of either PIP or DLA, or specific benefits for injured armed forces veterans.
What is the matter with everyone? Have we all suddenly decided we’re entitled to treat other people like dirt?
Are we copying our government’s behaviour – for example, to the unemployed and disabled?
Or is there another, underlying reason?
The latest organisation revealed to have been hit by the abuse epidemic is the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, which employs driving examiners, vehicle testers and roadside enforcement staff.
Between April 2016 and March this year, more than 300 staff suffered physical or verbal abuse while doing their jobs – an increase of more than 50 per cent on the previous year.
According to the organisation, attacks on staff have included:
• verbal abuse and death threats;
• damaging staff cars and offices;
• serious physical assaults;
• lorry drivers trying to run DVSA enforcement cars off the road; and
• failed driving test candidates driving off with their examiner still in the car, against their will.
The DVSA is launching a campaign to stop the abuse, which it describes as “completely unacceptable”.
At driving test centres, learner drivers who swear at or verbally abuse staff will be forced to:
•use a different test centre the next time they take a test; and
•take future tests with an extra supervisor present.
Anyone who threatens or assaults examiners, drives off with an examiner still in the car, or damages DVSA property will:
•be reported to the police; and
•face the strongest possible penalties.
Although it is extremely rare, driving instructors sometimes try to influence the results of a driving test by harassing or threatening examiners. They face being:
•banned from specific driving test centres;
•removed from the approved driving instructor register.
At the roadside, at operator sites or authorised testing centres, DVSA will:
•record any abuse from commercial drivers and vehicle operators as evidence for any investigation by the traffic commissioners – they have the power to suspend or take away driving licences and operator licences; and
•report serious incidents to the police.
In some busy sites, enforcement staff are starting to trial body-worn cameras to capture evidence of abuse.
There’s no excuse for abuse against people who are simply trying to make our roads safer.
But is this campaign a good idea? Or does it go too far?
Your opinions are invited.
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Another failure of privatisation: The freight trains concerned are owned by a (nationalised!) German company.
They use the same lines as passenger trains, which means if the dangerous practices aren’t stopped, sooner or later somebody is likely to die.
The rules, that mean drivers aren’t getting rest for up to 19 hours at a time, are being enforced by a foreign-owned company that bought into the British railway system when it was privatised.
Solution: Re-nationalise the UK’s railways and bring in proper safety measures. Right?
A highly respected but [previously] completely unnoticed report from Whitehall’s Rail Accident Investigation Branch… followed two cases of drivers last year “momentarily falling asleep ”while driving huge freight trains on the Great Western main line near Reading.
The report made damning reading of the way DB Cargo UK, the Doncaster based British subsidiary of state railway Deutsche Bahn, was treating its train drivers with little concern for their welfare and for that matter rail safety.
The report revealed that a combination of long shifts – ten hours at a time – and rest facilities which were ” unfit for purpose ” –two sofas in a brightly lit corridor – meant that drivers had little or no sleep. One driver hadn’t slept for 19 hours when he went over the danger signal. Another came to a halt where a luckily empty high speed passenger train was due to cross its path on the way to London Paddington. It was stopped by automatic train signals.
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