Illustration by Darcy MuenchrathAutomobile and Driver
From the June 2020 problem of Automobile and Driver.
For the reason that passage of the People with Disabilities Act in 1990, these ubiquitous blue parking permits have allowed drivers with disabilities to park in prime areas, typically without cost and with no closing dates. It did not take lengthy for scammers to comprehend that incapacity placards is also a priceless commodity for these whose solely affliction is a distaste for following the principles. Throughout the nation, the rampant unlawful use of those placards makes life much more difficult for disabled drivers, because it leaves fewer spots accessible for individuals who want them.
The black marketplace for incapacity placards exists on-line in addition to on avenue corners, and placards can promote for wherever from $50 to $2600 every. Tiffany James, communications supervisor on the Parking Authority of Baltimore Metropolis, says that earlier than town acquired a deal with on the state of affairs, “In the event you wanted cash, you can discover a automotive displaying a incapacity placard, smash the window, seize the placard, and promote it for $100.” For the client, that allow may very well be worth $10,00zero a yr in free parking in an enormous metropolis.
Within the absence of federal requirements, states and municipalities are writing their very own guidelines to discourage placard theft, however the laws are everywhere in the map. Massachusetts, New Mexico, and South Carolina require ID images on incapacity placards. In New Jersey, drivers caught utilizing a placard illegally may be topic to a nice of as much as $10,00zero and 18 months in jail. In Los Angeles, officers conduct compliance checks 4 instances a month all through town. Deputy chief of parking enforcement Richard Rea says his workforce confiscated 702 fraudulent placards in 2019. And in April of final yr, town council voted to hit violators with an $1100 nice.
One proposed resolution goals to disincentivize abuse by granting free parking solely to these with disabilities that prohibit their skill to make use of frequent cost infrastructure (e.g., they cannot insert cash right into a meter resulting from a scarcity of nice motor management or readily strategy a kiosk resulting from a wheelchair). Understanding that this may face a variety of pushback from the disabled neighborhood, advocates recommend that any income earned from this transformation be invested in safer sidewalks, higher curb ramps, and audible units at pedestrian crosswalks. Additionally they level out that developments resembling meters that take bank cards and smartphone parking apps have made paying for parking simpler. James says that inside a month of requiring placard holders to pay for parking and cling to closing dates as a part of a 2014 initiative, “Baltimore’s drawback dried up.”
Lack of accessible parking has actual penalties, as evidenced by the responses to a nationwide survey of individuals with disabilities carried out in late 2017.
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