30 November 2014

Blue badge bother

Here is a decision from PATAS which Mr Mustard thinks will divide opinion.

Mrs Redacted states that she is aged 90 years and has Alzeimher's disease. She has a disabled badge but due to her illness she forgot to display the badge in her car. Mrs Redacted states that when she remembered that she had forgotten to put the badge in the car she returned to her car. By that time a Penalty Charge Notice had been issued. I have seen a copy of Mrs Redacted's badge.

The civil enforcement officer's photographs show the car parked in a resident's bay and a Penalty Charge Notice attached to the window of the car. There was no permit or disabled badge in the car. I find that the contravention occurred.

The onus is on a disabled badge holder to ensure that the disabled badge is displayed when it is required. Mrs Redacted forgot to put her badge in the car. I find that the contravention occurred. 

I have no jurisdiction to take into account the mitigating circumstances raised. I do not consider that the mitigation is sufficiently compelling to make any recommendation to the local authority to cancel the Penalty Charge Notice.

The job of the adjudicator at PATAS is to apply the law. The law says the badge must be on display. Other motorists please note that Mr Mustard recommends that you find additional grounds on which to take your case to PATAS.

One role of the local authority (Barnet in this case) is to exercise discretion. That usually leads them to allow one cancellation for this forgetfulness and after that the blue badge holder will find errors expensive at £110 a pop. If the blue badge holder lives within a CPZ Mr Mustard would recommend they also buy a residents permit at £40 and then they only need to use their blue badge when travelling and the blue badge will be at less risk of being stolen.

The question that none of us know the answer to is whether Mrs Redacted is fit to drive (help here). Mr Mustard dealt with a similar case where he found the driver to be forgetful as to his badge and sometimes had to search for the right word but was generally full of beans and healthy save for a problem with walking. Mr Mustard used a pretext to find the phone number of the driver's son and alert them to the possible problem. He did not feel able to intervene to any greater extent. He hasn't had a recent PCN to deal with but doubtless one will arrive now! He has to argue like crazy with this particular robust gentleman if Mr Mustard feels he should pay up (Mr Mustard likes this gentleman but must tell him the truth about his chances of success) and luckily paying up won't stop him from eating.

There is useful information on Alzeimher's here.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

Update 10:50am

Looking back through his notes of earlier cases Mr Mustard has just noticed a second case for Mrs Redacted with the same facts in front of a different adjudicator who also found against her and there is a note on that case that the council has also cancelled a PCN for this contravention. Time to hang up Mrs Redacted's driving gloves?

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