Drivers with Disabilities Unfairly Given Parking Tickets

Mar 28, 2011
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In Auckland, New Zealand, on February 5, Mark Grantham was given a parking ticket for parking in an accessible parking zone.

Grantham, a wheelchair user with cerebral palsy, was glad to see New Zealand beat Pakistan by 57 runs at the cricket international in Eden Park.  Once the game was over, he proceeded to his vehicle but was shocked to discover that he had received a ticket for parking in a zone set aside for people with disabilities.  He was especially surprised that he received a ticket because his  accessible permit was visible along with other disability related stickers on the vehicle.

His assistant, Sam Santu, parked his accessible van in the spot after he was directed by the Park security staff.  They also found that they were not the only people that had been ticketed wrongly.  There were four other people with disabilities that found tickets on their vehicles after the game.

“It’s bloody ridiculous because if I wasn’t disabled I would be driving my own vehicle – I won’t be paying it, for sure,” he said.  Mark Grantham’s father wrote to the council-controlled organization that issued the ticket.

“His disability is immobilizing and disadvantaging enough without your over-zealous and apparently totally incompetent officer causing additional grief.”

He also demanded that the ticket be cancelled right away, action taken against the person who issued the ticket, and also an apology given.  Yet, he was denied each request.  According to one newspaper, the adjustor in charge of his requests stated that after much deliberation, Grantham would be responsible for the ticket “unless he could prove his van had broken down or been stolen, or that he had suffered a medical emergency”.

He was given two options:  pay the fine or send a notice that he would go to court to contest the fine.  As a result of newspaper inquiries, Auckland Transport found out there was a misunderstanding between several of Eden Park employees about where people with disabilities would park.  On Monday, March 21, Auckland Transport, finally yielded the fines issued to Mr. Grantham and the four other vehicle owners that received tickets.

Author: Melissa