Don’t do it | Army of volunteers issuing citations for handicap parking spot violators

January 23rd, 2020|

HOUSTON — Drivers who use handicapped parking spaces who aren’t disabled better think twice the next time they decide to park their cars in one of the spots.

The city of Houston has an army of volunteers looking for violators.

The volunteers are ready to make you pay big bucks if you get caught.

On a rainy day, the most coveted spots in any parking lot are the ones closest to the front door. You would think that most drivers know the marked handicapped spaces are reserved for people who need them.

“Parking in it for just a minute is hurting someone else,” Maria Irshad said.

Irshad, who’s a director with Park Houston, said with only 35 compliance officers it’s hard to catch all the violators.

“When someone parks at a space without that placard, they think it’s just a minute. You know, ‘I’m just going in. I’m going to go to the ATM for just a minute. I’m just going to be in and out real fast,’ but what they don’t realize is that there’s limited spaces and someone who really needs that space comes along and they don’t have access to it,” Irshad said.

The city has a secret weapon.

More than 400 people make up the Disabled Parking Volunteer Program. They’ve been trained and are authorized to issue parking citations to cars that are parked in handicapped spaces without a visible handicap placard.

“They will take their ticket book out with them when maybe they’re at the grocery store or when they’re out shopping, just running errands and if they find someone in violation they’ll give them a citation,” Irshad said.

The volunteers are also making sure the hatched-off accessible aisle is clear.

Last year, they issued more than 9,800 parking citations, each one costing drivers $500 bucks.

Irshad said, that to the volunteers, catching able drivers abusing disabled spots is near and dear to their hearts.

“They do it on their own time. A lot of them have a personal stake in accessible parking. It may be someone in their family. It may be themselves that need the parking space,” Irshad said.

The city is now recruiting more volunteers to join the program. They’re hosting training sessions twice a month.

Source Credit: Houston KHOU-11
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Accessible Parking Coalition Publishes Free, 24-page Guide to Address Growing Challenges of Parking for People with Disabilities

November 18th, 2019|

ALEXANDRIA, VA — Making parking accessible for people with mobility disabilities, deterring and detecting disabled placard/plate abuse, and complying with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards have been complex issues for a long time—and the challenges are growing more complicated with an aging population.

A new, downloadable, 24-page guide, “Let’s Make Accessible Parking More Accessible: A Practical Guide to Addressing Disabled Placard Abuse and Other Parking Issues for People with Disabilities,” offered at no charge by the International Parking & Mobility Institute (IPMI)-led Accessible Parking Coalition, provides a roadmap for parking and mobility professionals, elected officials, urban planners and other decision-makers.

Source Credit: Accessible Parking Coalition
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DOWNLOAD: Accessible Parking Coalition Publishes Free, 24-page Guide to Address Growing Challenges of Parking for People with Disabilities
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U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao Announces Nearly $50 Million to Improve Access and Mobility for All Americans

October 29th, 2019|

WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao today announced nearly $50 million in new initiatives to expand access to transportation for people with disabilities, older adults, and individuals of low income.  At the Access and Mobility for All Summit, Secretary Chao announced her intent to fund new programs to develop and deploy innovations in technology and further interagency partnerships to improve mobility.  U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers also participated in the event.

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‘This Is A Game Changer’: Purple Placard To Help Struggling, Disabled Drivers

July 29th, 2019|

DENVER (CBS4) — Colorado drivers with a purple placard have not been required to pay parking meters this year. The Chris Hinds Act exempts drivers with a disability from paying, if their disability impacts their ability to pay.“This is about making sure we have equal access for those who needed it,” explained Hinds. After hundreds of hours of Hinds’ research, former Gov. John Hickenlooper signed the Chris Hinds Act into law in 2018.

Source Credit: Denver (CBS4) News
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‘People aren’t disabled, their city is’: inside Europe’s most accessible city

June 8th, 2019|

Breda, the Netherlands (The Guardian): On average, the cost of living for disabled people is £583 a month higher than for their non-disabled peers, a substantial amount of which goes towards paying for taxi journeys to mitigate inaccessible public transport options. Travelling is even costlier: disabled people often have to stay in more expensive accessible hotels when hostels and independent bed and breakfasts are not a viable, barrier-free option. Add in the cost of damaged equipment and medical bills from injury, and the feelings of fear and isolation that lack of access creates, and you have a recipe for cities that feel difficult and anxiety-inducing. But in the Dutch city of Breda–recent winner of the 2019 Access City Award–every effort has been made to improve accessibility for citizens with disabilities.

Source Credit: The Guardian
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Don’t get caught misbehaving by parking in the disabled hash marks

May 29th, 2019|

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) –Everyone pretty much knows you shouldn’t park in a disabled parking spot unless you have a valid disabled parking placard. However, with little disregard for the law, drivers do it every day.

What many drivers may not be aware of, are disabled access ramps or disabled hash marks.

Disabled hash marks are always right next to the disabled parking spot, and can be painted yellow of blue. Drivers are never permitted to park in or around the disabled access ramps. Not even for a few seconds.

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Should Drivers with Handicap Placards Pay for Metered Spots? City Councilor Says So

May 9th, 2019|

BOSTON, Mass. (WFXT): Parking in Boston isn’t getting easier, but one city councilor says make everyone pay for meter spots may be a solution, including those using handicap placards.

When you open the city’s parking app to pay for the meter, should handicap spots be treated the same as others?

“My mother has one and she needs it,” said Boston resident Philip Pacino. Pacino says it’s easy to see how people abuse handicap placards.

Boston city councilor Michael Flaherty says handicap placard abuse affects drivers like Pacino when people misuse the placards and he says because they don’t pay for the spaces.”Any updates on the handicap parking fraud and abuse that permeates the city On a day to day basis to the tune of hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions every year?” Flaherty asked the Boston Transportation Department Tuesday night.

“I think we really need to step up to the plate, require everybody to pay the meter And that eliminates the fraud and the abuse,” Flaherty said.

Drivers told Boston 25 News something needs to change to ease the parking pain.

Sarah Dwyer fees there may be merit to Flaherty’s idea.

“I think it’s fair that they would have to pay like everyone else,” said Dwyer.

Source Credit: Boston 25 News
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L.A. Quadruples the Fine for Disabled-Placard Fraud, But Will It Help?

April 21st, 2019|

Los Angeles, Calif. (Los Angeles Times) – Disabled parking is in a protracted crisis in California, one that has thrust Los Angeles into an unlikely fight for reform. But while everyone knows there’s a problem, few agree on the cause, and fewer still on what should be done about it.

Source Credit: Los Angeles Times

Read the Los Angeles Times article and watch the news segment

BraunAbility® – Save My Spot Campaign

January 21st, 2019|

A wheelchair accessible vehicle is meant to provide freedom, but that can’t happen if it’s been blocked by careless parking. BraunAbility wants to educate the world on responsible parking around wheelchair accessible spaces – and with your help, we’ll make it a reality! Share our video to your friends and ask that they share as well. Together we can make it happen! ‪#savemyspot

Watch the BraunAbility® video.

Patrolling for Abuses of Disabled Placards in Phoenix

January 15th, 2019|

PHOENIX (CBS 5) – Disabled parking placards are issued to drivers or their caretakers so they don’t have to travel far when they go from place to place.

Unfortunately, some people have been abusing this privilege and are using the placard fraudulently.

Stanley Roberts went out with the Accessibility Compliance Enforcement Division of the Phoenix Police Department looking for people misusing disabled placards.

In some cases, people have altered the date on temporary placards.

If caught, the person could be issued a $564 fine. If a driver parked in a disabled spot with an expired or no placard at all, that comes with a $290 fine.

This is part one of a three-part series on disabled placard abuse.

Read the article and watch the news segment.

1 in 10 Disabled Parking Placards Being Misused, 2 Investigates

January 14th, 2019|

OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) – On a brisk morning before the sun rises in Oakland, a group of investigators with the California Department of Motor Vehicles set their sights on disabled parking spaces and placards, hoping to send a message that misuse and abuse of the placards is not only against the law, but prevents those with actual disabilities from getting a close place to park.

Read the KCBA-FOX 35 article and watch the news segment.

Gary ‘Tiger’ Balletto Addresses Handicapped Parking Issues

November 26th, 2018|

Former boxing champion and Cranston resident Gary “Tiger” Balletto is fighting a new opponent these days: ignorance.

In a photo posted to his Facebook page that has gone viral, Balletto shows a Jeep that was parked in the painted line area next to a handicapped spot, where he was parked, inside the garage at the Providence Place Mall Sunday.

“I think a lot of people are not totally aware of that’s what the lines are there for,” Balletto told NBC 10 News Monday evening. “It’s equivalent to a handicapped parking space. It’s the same thing.”

Read the Nov. 26, 2018 article by NBC-WJAR Providence.

Holiday Shoppers Warned to Think Twice Before Snagging Handicapped-Accessible Parking

November 25th, 2018|

You might be in a hurry this holiday season but if you park in a handicapped parking spot and you’re not disabled you could face a stiff fine.

“Unfortunately this is the time of year where people abuse it the most. Black Friday they want to go in get those sales rush in.” Travis County Constable of Precinct 5 Carlos Lopez says even if parking is hard to come by on Black Friday and during the Christmas shopping season, that’s no reason to park in a handicapped space.

Read the Nov. 25, 2018 article and watch the news segment by FOX 7 Austin.


Automakers Must Deliver on the Promise of Self-Driving Car Technology

July 30th, 2018|

When I bought my most recent car — a 2014 Chrysler Town and Country —the salesman walked me through the list of available upgrades. I could get a leather interior and heated seats without a problem, but there was one glaring oversight: accessibility. As a wheelchair user, I’ve found that no major automaker offers an accessible vehicle as standard…

Read The New York Times Article

“Not Your Spot” Disabled Parking Campaign Begins

June 14th, 2018|

Rotary Central Cayman Islands has launched its “Not Your Spot” awareness campaign highlighting the correct use and importance of disabled parking spots. The campaign, which was started 14 June, aims not only to educate the public on the proper and improper use of disabled “blue spots” around the island, but also show why these parking spaces are so important to the people who have the rights to use them…

Read the CNS Local Life News Article

Disabled Parking Placard Abuse Crackdown Nets 381 Citations

May 8th, 2018|

Investigators with the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) caught 381 out of 4,951, including 11 people in Valencia, fraudulently using disabled person parking placards during 22 enforcement operations in April.  Investigators confiscated the placards and issued each offender a misdemeanor citation that carries a $250 to $1,000 fine. The violation will also appear on their driver record…

Read the May 8 article from SCV News.

DMV Cracks Down on Disabled Placard Misuse in Undercover Sweep

March 21st, 2018|

Drivers in the East County were surprised Wednesday when officers approached them to check whether or not their disabled placards were valid. With 2.7 million placards issued in California, it can be difficult to find a handicapped parking space. Adding to that difficulty are the countless drivers who misuse them…

Read the March 21 article from 7SanDiego.

How California Plans to Stop ‘Dead’ Drivers from Using Disabled Parking Placards

December 28th, 2017|

Last year, a California audit revealed an impossible statistic: More than 26,000 people over age 100 in the Golden State had blue disabled placards, allowing them to park at any street meter for free, all day, or at prime blue-stenciled stalls at the front of store parking lots…

Read the December 28, 2017 article from The Sacramento Bee.