Steve Lopez is hopping mad. He is a columnist in the LA Times and has done some research on handicapped placard abuse. Its worse than we thought. Lopez has discovered that if you use a fake or out of date placard, your chances of being caught are nil. Last year the LA Department of Transportation issued only 11 citations for abuse. During the same period San Francisco issued over 600.
Obviously using the handicapped placard saves you a ton of money and time. You park anywhere for free. And since the odds of being caught are practically zero, why not?
He is calling for a change in the law that automatically renews the permits every year. He wants a renewed doctors certificate annually. Second, why not charge for handicapped parking. That will remove some incentive. (well duh) Third, crack down on doctors that issue permits to just about anyone. And fourth, with the second offense impound the driver’s car for a month.
Of course if the DOT isn’t enforcing the rules, all this won’t help. I would add having an ‘app’ available on cell phones so people can take a picture of the offending vehicle and send it to the DOT so it can be determined whether or not the placard is valid and if not, a warning sent, or even an officer in the area dispatched to cite the vehicle.
When I was hiking in the Hollywood area this weekend, the streets were marked as no parking zones, residents only. The 20 or so spaces nearest the trailhead were taken by cars with handicapped stickers. As I have mentioned before, this is a rather aggressive trail and if a person can make it even part way up, they have no handicap that would prevent them from parking in a standard space.
Having an officer patrol the Runyon canyon area on weekends would be a good place to start enforcement.
Lopez ends his article saying, if all else fails, he is in favor of public flogging. Hear Hear