It is often the subject of some debate and so today it seems opportune to post because Santa Cruz Policía Local are reporting that they “caught a woman red handed” the other day parking in a disabled bay with a card which did not belong to her, but to her husband, who died five years ago. They further say that they had been keeping an eye on her Mercedes for a few months to compile a dossier of “offences” – the investigation appears to have been initiated by a denuncia made against her by someone offended at an able-bodied person’s use of disabled spaces.
In Spain, disabled badges are issued to the person, and only the disabled person him/herself is supposed to use it. In the particular case being reported by Santa Cruz police, the badge has been confiscated and annulled, and a file sent to the issuing department in the Canarian Government. In addition, the local police issued a fine: the exact amount is unknown but police sources say it can be up to €200. Police further say that this is the sixth such offence in Santa Cruz alone that they have dealt with so far this year.
Anyone who needs to apply for a badge here needs to be prepared, I’m afraid, for a bit of a wait. There’s no fast track system, but a multi-stage, multi-location application. The first step is to be formally registered with the police as a resident because only residents may be granted the badges. An applicant then needs to apply to a local ayuntamiento which will ask for a medical report from the GP. Then the applicant will be called for an assessment appointment with the Canarian Government in Santa Cruz, but there is a very long waiting list for this. After the assessment, a “level of disability” notice is issued, and then the applicant returns to the town hall to apply for the badge, the type of which is given depending on the level of disability granted. In terms of length of process, it’s at least a year, probably nearer two.