Cork sports journalist and commentator Joanne O’Riordan has lent her voice to a campaign by the Disabled Drivers Association of Ireland (DDAI) to urge county councils to introduce the DDAI Spacefinder app service for disabled drivers and passengers in their area.
Developed by Limerick company ParkMagic and supported by the Disabled Drivers Association, the DDAI SpaceFinder app gives real-time information on whether an accessible parking space is occupied or not, using sensors installed by the participating local authority.
Limerick City & County Council was the first local authority to begin using the DDAI Spacefinder App service in late 2021 and the DDAI is urging other county councils to begin using the App in their area.
“There’s nothing worse than going to a shop or a town and having to drive aimlessly around looking for a place that’s wide enough or gives the adequate amount of space for the wheelchair ramp to come out behind my car," Joanne said.
Joanne, who is a member of the Disabled Drivers Association also spoke about the problems with some accessible parking spaces.
“There’s not enough spaces with room for the ramp at the back and there’s nothing more terrifying than reversing onto a busy road, unaware of how fast a car could come," she said. "Add to that, the lack of a flat footpath to mount on after I come out.
Limerick City and County Council’s traffic department installed small sensors at accessible parking bays in its city centre business district, delivering real-time updates to users of the app on Apple and Android.
Richard Ryder, communications manager with the Disabled Drivers Association of Ireland, added, “ Having the DDAI Spacefinder App service available in every county would take away the fear and stress out of everyday travelling and trying to find suitable parking. We are urging county councils to introduce it as it would literally be a ‘game-changer’ for disabled drivers and passengers in their area.”