Big rise in  disabled bay  parking fines
Checking: Some drivers continue to park illegally in disabled bays. Picture: The West Australian

Some Perth councils have had a dramatic rise in the number of drivers caught parking illegally in disabled bays, with one reporting a 70 per cent jump in infringements in 12 months.

Two of Perth's biggest councils, the cities of Joondalup and Swan, also reported a big rise in infringements of at least 50 per cent.

Figures obtained by The West Australian show the City of Subiaco issued 201 infringements in 2013-14 for vehicles not displaying a valid ACROD permit, up 73 per cent on 2012-13.

In Joondalup, the number of infringements rose 58 per cent and Swan reported a 50 per cent rise.

The trend was not uniform across Perth's metropolitan councils, with others reporting declines in the number of infringements issued.

The City of Perth issued the most infringements in 2013-14 with 400, but that represented a 35 per cent decline from the previous year.

The City of Canning also reported a big fall in infringements issued, down 32 per cent.

In the Shire of Peppermint Grove, which has just two disabled bays, the numbers were unchanged, with three infringements issued for the second year in a row.

It is unclear if those councils reporting an increase in infringements had more people parking illegally or were simply catching a higher percentage of perpetrators.

The State Government this week confirmed plans to raise penalties for illegally parking in disabled bays. The maximum court-imposed penalty for parking in an ACROD bay without a permit will rise from $1000 to $2000 and council rangers will be given the power to issue $300 on-the-spot fines.

The move was largely welcomed by disability support groups and councils.

City of Stirling councillor Samantha Jenkinson, who uses a wheelchair, is more passionate about the issue than most and was last night set to table a motion for the city to write a letter of support to the Government.

She said it was important to publicly support the planned increase in penalties.

"I'm a firm believer in trying to educate people not just regulate people but sometimes you need a bit of stick," she said.

Stirling issued 53 infringements in 2013-14, down from 82 the previous financial year.

The West Australian

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