Disability Placards…everyone has one…so it seems…but does it really belong to them or to their grandmother, grandfather, mother, father? Are those relatives still alive? Evidently, it doesn’t matter when it comes to those in possession of the “sacred” placard, and are so quick to hang one from their mirror or toss on the dash before jumping out of their vehicles and practically run into the store or mall after parking in the coveted parking space closest to the entrance doors. “Laziness” does not qualify as a handicap nor a disability, people! And although a disabled person is a passenger in the car, but has no intentions of getting out of the vehicle, why utilize a disabled parking space? “Stupidity” does not qualify as a handicap or disability either!
Disability Placards are being ABUSED!
Too many times I’ve seen that scenario play out in parking lots everywhere. A car pulls into the last disabled parking space, the occupant diligently places the parking placard on the mirror, then is able to hop out of the vehicle just as capable as I am, and without any physical problem, practically running into the store. What’s more upsetting is when I watch an elderly lady have to pull into a parking space, several spaces down, manage to get to the back door or the trunk of the vehicle, remove a walker, and slowly make her way to the store, having to stop every 5 or 6 feet.
Or when automobiles with disabled placards are parked in a space marked “Van Accessible”, which are designated for transport vans equipped with ramps or lifts for those disabled utilizing wheelchairs. In most cases these spaces have a non-parking space next to it indicated by diagonal painted lines, yet I have seen many drivers (disabled or not) park in those areas.
My next question is, who is responsible for the enforcement of the illegal use of disabled placards, and what is the fine or punishment?
In researching, the Department of Transportation, Bureau of Motor Vehicles in the State of Pennsylvania is the issuing authority. They require an application (http://www.dmv.state.pa.us/pdotforms/mv_forms/mv-145a.pdf), by the disabled person to be submitted which includes a section to be completed by the applicants Health Care Provider, licensed or certified in Pennsylvania to certify the applicants disability, and then submitted to the Department of Transportation in Harrisburg, PA. On the reverse side of the application is a list of 8 Reason Codes to be eligible for a Disability Parking Placard. These 8 Reason Codes are: 1)Blind, 2)Does not have full use of arm or both arms, 3)Cannot walk 200 feet without stopping to rest, 4)Cannot walk without the assistance of a brace, cane, crutch, another person, prosthetic device, wheelchair or other assistive device, 5)Restricted by lung disease, 6)Uses portable oxygen, 7)has a cardiac condition, 8)Is severely limited in his or her ability to walk due to arthritic, neurological or orthopedic conditions. I understand why each of the above items falls into a Disabled field, but don’t understand why someone blind or doesn’t have use of one or both arms constitutes a Disabled Placard. Anyone blind is not going to be driving, and many are able to walk miles with the use of a stick. Those without use of one or both arms still have the capability to walk. And for those in wheelchairs the disabled parking “Van Accessible” spaces should be located after the disabled spaces that are closer to the entrances.
The use of the Disabled Placards are outlined on the bottom portion of the Disabled Placard Application, (http://www.dmv.state.pa.us/pdotforms/mv_forms/mv-145a.pdf), stating they are to be utilized 1)Only when the vehicle in which it is displayed is parked and being used for the transportation of the person with disability, 2)Any vehicle lawfully displaying a placard will qualify for parking in areas designated for use by persons with disability only, 3)This placard will not allow vehicles to park where parking is prohibited. No where on the application does it state what the fine or punishment will be if the placard is abused, nor does it state what law enforcement agency is responsible to enforce these fines or punishments, whether it be State, City, Local or Mall police, which, in my opinion, is why the Disability Placard and parking is able to be so flagrantly abused and desperately needs to be reevaluated and redesigned. Additional information can be found at: http://www.dmv.state.pa.us/registration/pwd_plate.shtml
My suggestion would be the use of a two color placard system. Blue and Green, which would correspond with the colors of the Disabled signs in the designated areas of the parking areas. Blue spaces would be located closest to entrances, and Green being the next spaces after the Blue and farther from entrances.
The Reason Codes would be divided into to lists. One list Blue the other list Green. The disabilities listed under Blue would be: 1)Cannot walk 200 feet without stopping to rest, 2)cannot walk without the assistance of a brace, cane, crutch, another person, prosthetic device, 3)Restricted by lung disease, 4)Uses portable oxygen, 5)Has a cardiac condition, 6)Is severely limited to his or her ability to walk due to arthritic, neurological or orthopedic conditions. The disabilities listed under Green would be: 1)Blind, 2)Does not have full use of arm or both arms, 3)Utilizes a wheelchair(electric or manual), 4)A disability that does not affect walking or mobility.
Upon issuing either color placard, the placard number would match the license plate number of the vehicle designated to be used to transport that disabled person. The use of these placards issued are to be utilized: 1)Color of placard must match the color space indicated, 2)Only when the vehicle in which it is displayed is parked and being used for the transportation of the person with disability, 3)Placard issue number must match the license plate number.
Enforcement of the above should be by State, City, Local, and Mall Police forces with fines and/or revocation of placard for violators. With so many cities in need of financial help, I’m sure they could use the additional funds generated by fines placed on violators and abusers.
WHAT’S YOUR OPINION?
I’m sure there are many of you that can relate. I would like to hear from you.
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