Weatherford State Rep. Phil King Wants to Crack Down on Handicapped Parking Fraud

handicap_stupidity.jpg
A couple years back when I was on the Preston Hollow beat, I accompanied Dallas police on what just might go down as the most boring ride-along in history. This wasn't some Cops-style chronicle of the dangerous work of Dallas' finest, but a plodding search for cars illegally parked in handicapped spaces. It's so low on the department's priority list the city actually enlists citizen volunteers to help write citations, which is what my story was about.

It'd be a stretch to call handicapped parking fraud a scourge, but it is a perennial inconvenience to people for whom the spaces are reserved, and a source of frustration for able-bodied Dallasites forced to walk a few extra feet, sometimes in the bright sunshine, IS THERE NO VALET HERE WHAT THE HELL?

The illegal parkers we encountered on the ridealong were all spur-of-the-moment scofflaws who, say, pulled their Jag into a vacant space at NorthPark so they could get in and out of Neiman's in a jiffy. Others put a lot more thought into their crime, producing counterfeit placards to hang from their rear-view mirrors (the officer showed me a drawer full of these that had been confiscated).

Some actually apply for and receive valid placards from the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, falsely claiming to be disabled. There's an assigned space in hell for these people, and it's a long-ass walk from the cafeteria.

This last strategy is also the target of a bill filed this week by Rep. Phil King, a Weatherford Republican. HB 757 imposes a civil penalty of $750 to $1,000 on any health provider who falsely claims that a patient is disabled for the purposes of securing handicapped parking.

How the law would be enforced, short of requiring every applicant to go to the DMV for a full physical, isn't clear. Sniffing out expired or fake placards is already a needle-in-a-haystack type exercise. Tying legitimate placards that were improperly obtained seems nearly impossible. It's possible you could punish medical professionals who hand out disability affidavits like adderall in a college library, but that seems tough too. It really seems like the shitty-parking-spot-in-hell thing is the most practical solution.

My Voice Nation Help
17 comments
Storm_71
Storm_71

This one is right down the center of the plate for me. My mother is handicapped and for the time being at least confined mostly to a wheelchair due to massive arthritis in both knees. I go get her from her nursing home in East Texas at least once a month to spend the weekend with my family and I. I run her around town (Arlington) to pick up her essentials and what not and use her placard. I am always amazed and angered at the fucking disrespectful people who take up these spots with no handicapped id’s at all. I have even confronted some and of course they have the holier than thou attitude about it. This is a problem, and while I don’t know if I agree with your normal Joe’s and Jane’s handing out citations I would like to places of business to maybe take some sort of action. I don’t have a plan for what type of action but it seems they could do something.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

The DEA has already shown what a disaster it is when cops start trying to make medical decisions.

Do not want. (And that's from the son of someone with a legitimate placard.)

halldecker
halldecker

Think this through,  do we really want civilians throwing around $750 tickets?  



bigjondaniel
bigjondaniel

Just remember, someone does not have to be limping or in a wheel chair to need a handicap plate.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Having a friend or relative at the DMV is a big help in getting a handicap card without being disabled.

Double-O-Joe
Double-O-Joe

Recently, at my neighborhood grocery store, there was an Aston Martin DB9 in a handicapped spot.  There was indeed a placard hanging from the mirror.

Proving that it's possible to do yourself a permanent injury picking up your wallet.

bmarvel
bmarvel

I'll repeat here what I was once told by a young woman who was in charge of enforcing architectural standards for the handicapped: There isn't any one of us, if we live long enough, that won't be handicapped. Handicapped parking, like handicapped-friendly doors and stairs and so forth -- aren't for a privileged class. They are, or will be, for all of us.

markzero
markzero

@bigjondaniel If I see the plate or the card, that's enough for me. But when I see neither, I get pissed off.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@Double-O-Joe the old man has one from his hip replacement.  He gets around ok, but he enjoys that parking pass too.  It's legitimate.  He has an old friend who's blind, who's been confronted many times by earnest defenders of those prime parking spots.  His lids are sewn shut, so when he raises his glasses they shrink away.  I know others with head injuries who can drive, and get around ok, but have the hanger as well. 

MikeWestEast
MikeWestEast

@Double-O-Joe What does the car have to do with it? Lots of disabilities that limit movement do not require vans with wheel chairs. Additionally, rules do allow you to use card (it belongs to individual, not the car) when transporting the disabled person. Lots of disabled seniors no longer drive, retain their licenses for ID and rely on family and friends to transport them. If they have a license, they can get a tag to keep with them for such use.

bill.holston1
bill.holston1

@bmarvel my mother in law is disabled. I assure you it is difficult to negotiate life without accessibility  Travel in Europe and watch how people in wheelchairs navigate without our ADA. a friend in a wheelchair had to send her child into the postoffice to get mail. People who abuse this ought to be forced to hang a sign on their window that says, "I take Handicapped Parking Spots from people who need them...Yes, I am a douche. 

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@bill.holston1 @bmarvel how about bricks through the windows instead?

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...