Thursday, January 27, 2022
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Electric vehicle shocker for David

David Gale pictured with his Vauxhall Corsa

A MOTORIST with a progressive muscle-wasting condition is calling for the Government to improve electric vehicle infrastructure so that “disabled people aren’t left behind”.

David Gale, 38, lives with Becker muscular dystrophy, which causes muscles to weaken and waste over time, leading to increasing and often severe disability.

He currently drives an adapted Vauxhall Astra, but wants to switch to an electric vehicle so he can minimise his carbon footprint.

However, David says the infrastructure of electric vehicles is unsuitable for the needs of disabled people which means he doesn’t feel like he can opt for one.

He said: “I don’t want to be desperately needing to charge my car only to reach a charging point that I can’t use because it hasn’t been designed with disabled people in mind.”

He said bays are too small as he needs more space to open a door to dismount into a wheelchair.

A lack of dropped curbs and charging sockets that are too high and heavy for wheelchair users are other examples of poor electric vehicle infrastructure, he said.

David, who lives in Templand in Dumfriesshire, said: “Disabled people have been neglected to the point that it feels like our needs are ignored. The UK Equality Act 2010 says it’s illegal to discriminate against individuals with disabilities, yet so many companies that install charging areas are oblivious to this and carry on regardless.

“It feels like I’m being discriminated against. All charging points should be accessible in the first place, otherwise decades down the line more money will have to be spent to correct them.

“As the 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars approaches, it is imperative that disabled people aren’t left behind.”

Robert Burley, Director of Care, Communications and Support at Muscular Dystrophy UK, said: “Stories like David’s highlight how disabled people are so often treated as an afterthought.

“This is completely unacceptable and means disabled people may feel they are unable to opt for an electric car. We all want a more carbon-neutral society, and Muscular Dystrophy UK is keen to hear how the Government will work with companies to improve the infrastructure of electric vehicles to integrate the needs of disabled people.

“It is crucial that this ongoing situation is addressed as a matter of priority and well ahead of the 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel cars.”

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