Handicapped in Providence
I rail about this problem quarterly so here is the summer 2013 edition. The story is from Providence RI but could be from most anywhere. The police are simply asking folks with handicapped/disabled placards if the placards are theirs. Read about it here.
Legitimate permit holders are happy to show documents verifying their possession. In fact they laud the police for checking. Others, not so much.
The excuses are legend: “It belongs to my husband, but I forgot his name.” Or “I need it so I can rush home in an emergency.” These losers have the placards confiscated and can get a $500 fine.
A year or so ago the city of LA set up teams of officers — a parking enforcement officer and a sworn policeman — to work areas where disabled placard abuse was rampant. The parking enforcement officer could do the searches to ensure the placards were valid, and the policeman would be there to authorize the towing of the vehicle. Based on initial numbers, these teams could generate upwards of a million a year in citation revenue, PLUS they could free up spaces for legitimate use.
There is technology that is available (a type of in car meter or a AVI tag, for instance) that could put an end to duplication. The in car meter would have to be ‘recharged’ on line using the owners code. That way, short term disabilities could be given permits but they could be ‘turned off’ after a certain time. The AVI tag could be given similar properties.
Its not perfect, but would stop forged permits. And the permits could be ‘paired’ with certain vehicles so enforcement staff could check quickly on line to see if the tag was being used with the right car.
In the end, the best way to do away with this problem is to have the disabled pay for parking. They are getting a ‘special’ space with more room for access. They could also get more time (say three hours in a two hour zone) because they don’t move quite as quickly as the rest of us. But if the incentive (free parking) was taken away, perhaps the cretins who abuse these permits would look to other ways to get their jollies, like abusing puppies.
Strict enforcement is a good start. Way to go Providence. If people know they may be caught and hit with a big fine, then…..