My name is Gina, and I suffered a spinal cord injury at 18 years old which left me a quadriplegic and full-time wheelchair user. As a result I require a vehicle that is equipped with a ramp for me to drive.
Disabled parking with an access aisle is necessary to provide enough space for me to get in and out of my vehicle. However, on the occasions when I can actually get a parking space, people think the access aisles are for carts and additional parking space. It’s not, and because of those people I have had times where I am blocked from getting back into my car. The risk of being blocked from opening my ramp only occurs when I can actually get a parking space, and that’s harder than one might think.
Disabled parking misuse and abuse occurs at an alarming rate, yet nothing is being done to remedy the problem. We need to address how deplorable it is to park in disabled parking when you should not be.
First and foremost, people need education. We need to bring back a sense of shame for doing so, and that includes the following instances:
- Using someone else’s plate/placard (they are registered to a person, not a vehicle)
- Using an expired plate/placard
- Parking in disabled parking without a plate/placard
- Parking on the access aisle (yellow/blue hashed area) adjacent to disabled parking
- Parking in disabled parking with the disabled individual, but they do not exit the vehicle
There is a steady increase in the population of individuals who utilize disabled parking. The current law is out of date and requires reform. Not only is the supply not meeting the demand, but misuse also strains the availability of parking for the disabled individuals it was intended for. Disabled parking was intended for people with severe mobility disabilities, but it has become a reciprocal for lazy, selfish people.
Disabled parking is failing at almost every step:
The ratio of required disabled parking spaces to regular parking spaces in no way reflects the demand. The law regarding disabled parking is grossly out of date.
The number of disabled individuals has been consistently rising, yet the number of parking spaces required has not changed in years.
Doctors incorrectly issue disabled parking because they believe it is subjective. However, the qualifiers for disabled parking are very clear, and do not allow for doctors interpreting the law themselves. Additionally, state medical boards fail to ensure that doctors do not abuse their power in issuing disabled parking, nor do they educate medical professionals on the standards for issuing disabled parking.
Police refuse to see illegal parking in disabled parking as a priority, and often choose to not respond to a call reporting an illegally parked car. Illegal use of disabled parking by people using someone else’s plate/placard, fraudulent placards, expired plates/placards, and parking without a plate/placard is so prevalent you encounter improper use daily. Additionally, abuse contributes to the lack of parking available.
So how can we make changes?
- Education and sensitivity training for police and medical professionals.
- Educational information provided by the state’s motor vehicle division.
- An increase in enforcement by police.
- Accountability and potential reprimand of medical professionals abusing their discretion.
- Legislation to update current disabled parking laws.
Gina is not only talking, but DOING! Follow her lead and meet with your local police department to discuss how this issue affects you and why/how you need them to take action.
Disabled parking may not be a big issue for those who do not need it, but for those who do, it is the path to independence.
Listen to Gina on the PUSHLiving Podcast: Click here!
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- Miraculous Paralysis Recovery Specialist Ken Bryant – Is He for Real? - August 22, 2018
- How to Hire and Keep Caregivers - February 12, 2018
- Into the Minds of Devotees & Admirers of Women with Disabilities - December 20, 2017
- Gina is On a Roll: Success in Dating with a Disability - December 10, 2017
- Being In a Wheelchair Makes You an Inspiration or No? - November 28, 2017