All we need to fix our handicapped parking problem is new state legislation, a diligent DMV and a vigilant police department. Is that asking too much?
Now that DMV has drivers' digital mugshots on file, it would be easy to start printing names and photos on handicapped parking placards. That's what Hillsborough resident Mark Gordon would like to see in North Carolina.
If that was your Uncle Bob's name and face on the Massachusetts placard you see here, you'd be less likely to get away with hijacking it for your own selfish, freeloading, lazy purposes. ("It works good up in Virginia," where the placards are printed with the handicapped person's name, says former Virginia resident Ed Gilliam.)
That means people who need handicapped parking spots — you know, people who actually have a physical disability — would be able to find them.
Here are more recommendations.
From Verne Schmickley of Raleigh, a rehabilitation psychologist who works with disabled folks:
1. LIMIT the placards/plates to ONE (1) per handicapped applicant [a disabled individual's automobile cannot occupy two parking places].
2. Require recertification by a physician on an ANNUAL basis; as the disabled individual may no longer be in need of handicapped parking [due to improved functioning; or institutionalization or death].
From Lynn Johnson of Smithfield, a handicapped driver:
Increase patrols of police, meter readers, etc during the “go to work” periods. Anyone parking and using a handicapped placard should be asked for the ID card AND their driver’s license, to show that the person who was issued the card is in the car.
It will take a month or two of pretty constant ticketing, but the abusers will get the message. No one who has a legitimate handicapped tag will be injured—we’re happy to show that ID. The others should learn quickly that it is cheaper to rent a parking space than pay ticket after ticket.
Next, perhaps abuse would be less prevalent if the Department of Motor Vehicles would hand out RULES for the use of the handicapped hang-tags AND disability license plates along with the tag. We’re talking about a one sheet pamphlet here—not a book. I asked for a copy of the rules when my handicapped tag was given to me and was told that none exists.
Meanwhile, follow these links to see how handicapped parking is handled elsewhere: