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The annual Baywatch campaign, carried out by charity Disabled Motoring UK (DMUK), is changing format for 2020 and will ask disabled people to recall instances of disabled parking abuse at supermarkets over the last year, without having to leave their homes.

DMUK’s yearly Baywatch campaign explores the levels of disabled parking “abuse” at supermarkets in the UK. “Abuse” refers to cars parked in a disabled parking space without displaying a Blue Badge.

The survey aims to tackle disabled car parking abuse as many disabled people are not able to park at their desired destination, particularly at supermarkets, due to people wrongly parking in disabled bays.

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Last year’s Baywatch survey revealed that, on average, three out of 15 disabled parking bays are abused at supermarkets – equating to roughly one in five disabled spaces being wrongly parked in.

The campaign also found that disabled parking abuse at supermarkets had slightly decreased over a two-year period, from 18.5 percent in 2017 down to 16 percent in 2019.

Usually, DMUK asks disabled people to go to their local supermarket car park and count how many disabled bays are provided and how many cars that are parked in them without displaying a Blue Badge.

Disabled people are also asked if the supermarket has any signage or enforcement displayed in the car park about people wrongly parking in disabled bays.

However, in light of the coronavirus pandemic, DMUK says it has decided that it is not appropriate to ask individuals to physically go to a supermarket car park and count cars not displaying a Blue Badge which are parked in disabled bays.

In a statement about this decision, the charity said: “This could put participants in a position where they find it harder to social distance and we would never ask people to put themselves at an increased risk of catching the virus.

“Instead we will be running a survey for the month of August which participants can complete without leaving their home.”

For the 2020 Baywatch campaign, disabled people will instead be asked to recall their general parking experience over the last 12 months, with DMUK asking some questions about their experiences at supermarkets and their everyday journeys.

The charity will then use this data to tackle the supermarkets and other parking providers over their disabled parking policies.

Heidi Turner, Communications and Campaigns Director at DMUK, said: “Baywatch is one of the charity’s longest running campaigns and is really important to draw attention to the parking problems that disabled people face when just trying to do their everyday grocery shopping.

“The charity has decided to change the format of Baywatch this year in order to keep our supporters safe.

“Nevertheless the new survey will provide us with some really useful data to keep the pressure on the supermarkets to do more to manage their disabled parking bays properly. Disabled motorists face parking problems in all aspects of their life and the new survey will also encompass some more general parking questions which will expand the scope of the DMUK Baywatch Campaign.”

The survey will be printed in the August issue of Disabled Motoring and there will be an online version going live in August, which can be accessed through the charity’s website

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