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Almost one in four parent and child parking spaces are misused in Scotland

By Kirsty Brown

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Drivers across the UK are wrongly taking advantage of parent and child parking spaces, leaving mums and dads battling to find spaces with young children in tow.

That’s according to an investigation by Confused.com, which saw almost one in four parent and child parking spaces across Scotland being misused, with the number even higher across the rest of the UK.

Researchers monitored dedicated spaces in supermarkets to find a shocking number of people taking advantage of the extra space bays.

Confused.com isn’t the only witness to this behaviour, as new research found that more than two thirds of UK drivers have seen a parent and child parking space being used by someone without a child with them.

Meanwhile, 29 percent of drivers admit to wrongly using a dedicated parent and child parking space, be it a parent travelling without their kids or non-parents taking advantage of the extra-wide parking bay.

The top reasons given for misusing a parent and child parking space are:

“It was late at night and I didn’t think there would be any parents around” – 32 percent

“There were plenty of parent and child parking spaces available” – 31 percent

“I couldn’t find another space” – 29 percent

“I was only using the space for a few minutes” – 25 percent

“I wanted to park close to the store” – 21 percent

“I am or was travelling with a Blue Badge holder and there weren’t any dedicated spaces available” – 14 percent

For much of 2020 car parks were less busy than usual, and it seems this has attracted people to take advantage of parent and child bays.

In fact, more than one in eight culprits admit they parked in one of these spaces during lockdown, with one in seven claiming they knew there was no one around to enforce the rules.

More than a third of parents of children under the age of 12 have been forced to leave a car park because they couldn’t find a suitable parking space, but leaving isn’t always an option and 81 percent of parents have had to find a space elsewhere.

While people are knowingly misusing parent and child parking spaces, however, the research also highlighted a lot of confusion around the restriction of these bays.

In fact, one in seven drivers find the rules around parent and child parking confusing, while nearly eight percent of drivers are unsure about the rules in their local supermarket.

To clear up this confusion, Confused.com compiled the guidelines for some of the top UK supermarkets so people can be confident they’re adhering to the rules, and they have captured the struggles of parking in a standard place in a short film.

As shown in the film, not being able to use a space has forced parents into some difficult positions.

More than half of parents have struggled to get their child out of the car due to the lack of space, while 24 percent had to carry their child across the car park because of the traffic.

More than a fifth even saw a car speeding which put their child at risk.

At the time of this happening, nearly two thirds saw someone else misusing a parent and child parking space.

While not all supermarkets or other car parks currently penalise offenders, 28 percent of UK drivers would like to see fines enforced.

Car insurance expert at Confused.com Alex Kindred said: “Taking the kids shopping is a battle without the added stress of trying to find somewhere suitable to park.

“The rules are very clear: if you aren’t travelling with a child, don’t use the parent and child parking spaces, unless you have a very valid reason to.

“However, our research has proven that there are still many drivers who are confused about the rules.

"We’ve spoken to some of the top supermarkets to understand their guidelines and outlined what people can expect if they are caught taking advantage in our guide to parent and child parking.

“If you see someone wrongly using a parent and child parking space, you can report it using the details in our guide.”

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