Opposition MK Eitan Cabel (Zionist Union) has vowed to ramp up measures taken against drivers who illegally park in disabled parking spots, in light of fresh statistics indicating that current penalties against the common offense is failing as a sufficient deterrent.
In the last few years, Israel has waged a series of failed PR campaigns aimed at reducing the phenomenon of illegal parking in spots reserved for disabled drivers.
The latest widescale campaign by the Israel Police was launched under the vaguely rhyming Hebrew banner of “Enough with the excuses, don’t park in disabled spots.” Statistics simultaneously published appeared to reflect a decrease in the number of Israelis parking in disabled spots.
However, since then, despite the number of campaigns waged on social networks, some of which included pictures of vehicles parked in disabled parking places with the intent of shaming the offenders, the new stats indicate that the practice has become increasingly commonplace among Israelis once again.
Recently, Eitan Cabel, Chairman of the Knesset’s Economic Affairs Committee, received multiple complaints from accessibility organizations claiming that the number of people parking in disabled spots who are not permitted to do so is on the up.
Cabel then passed the matter on to the Ministry of Internal Security and requested that a report be compiled about the effectiveness of the enforcement of the law on illegal parking.
The facts collated in the report, which was in turn sent to Cabel’s office, revealed unambiguous trends.
Indeed, according to the stats, in 2016, 9,687 parking tickets were issued for illegally parking in disabled spots. Underlining the extent of the problem was that the latest numbers for 2017 point to the fact that not only has the phenomenon returned to the fore, but that Israelis are increasingly committing the offense, seemingly indifferent to the fear of consequences.
This is demonstrated by the fact that according to figures from the ministry’s conclusions, in the first 80 days of 2017, 2,218 parking tickets were issued for the offense, setting the country well on its way to seeing more than 10,000 fines per year.
Commenting on the report, Cabel acknowledged the shortcomings of the current law and pledged to take new measures to ensure that it serves an an effective deterrent for selfish drivers.
“The number of tickets against those parking in disabled spots proves that, unfortunately, we are talking about a common phenomenon,” Cabel said on Tuesday. “The complaints that come to me from organizations for the disabled are justified and demand that the punishment becomes significantly stricter."
Cabel went on to say that he would be pushing legislation forward to clamp down on the offenders. “After the recess I will present a bill proposal that will deal with those who park in disabled spots in a significantly harsher manner,” he promised. “We have to eradicate this despicable phenomenon immediately.”
(Translated and edited by Alexander J. Apfel)