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Letter to the Editor: Parking in handicapped spots, not disabled; why do they do it?

LETTER TO THE EDITOR – Hopefully, I will raise some awareness on handicapped parking.

Recently, I was at my grandson’s school to pick him up. I became royally ticked when I got there because all of the handicapped spaces were taken by those who have no placard or plates that are handicapped. This has happened numerous of times while I have been there.

So, out jumps mothers and fathers, phone in hand, running up to get their child from school. After retrieving their child, they then proceed back to their vehicle. One of the people parked in a spot is a lady who is on her phone and is also conversing to someone next to her in another non-handicapped person’s vehicle. While a few cars, my own included, were forced to park all the way at the end of the parking lot because there were no spaces to park. The lady today was in such a hurry to get her child, that she had the time to text and to talk to those around her.

So, I thought to myself, “Why would someone park illegally in a handicapped space?”

Here are my answers:

  1. They are lazy. They park as close to the entrance as they can so that they don‘t have to walk. In addition, they don‘t care if they take up a disabled parking space.
  2. Maybe in their mind being in a hurry is a justifiable reason to park in a handicapped spot while not being handicapped- tell that to the veteran or the handicapped person who can’t walk easily.
  3. Maybe they are worried someone will scratch the vehicle and that warrants taking two handicapped spaces?
  4. Wait, maybe they don’t see the big blue sign that says handicapped parking only or think it is just a suggestion. If they can’t see that on the ground and the sign, they should NOT be driving at all.
  5. Let me see, maybe they know that nobody will ticket them and they can do what they want because they are special. They obviously have money to throw away on fines in case they get caught. So, $125.00 is a drop in the bucket for them. But, they know nobody is patrolling.

Sorry, I am being sarcastic on this because I know I am. But also at the same time- people don’t get it. In order to have a handicapped placard or plate, you have to have a disability.

According to the Utah Motor Vehicle Division, this is what you have to do to qualify for a handicapped parking permit:

Qualifications for Disabled Parking

  1. Individuals with disabilities can qualify for disabled person’s license plates, which are mounted on their cars in place of regular license plates, or disabled person’s placards, that are hung from the rear view mirror of their cars. These plates or placards allow the disabled person to park in specially marked parking areas that are convenient to the entrances of public buildings. The plates may be personalized.
  2. State law defines a “disabled” person as one who:
  • cannot walk 200 feet without stopping to rest;
  • cannot walk without the use of, or assistance from, a brace, cane, crutch, another person, prosthetic device, wheelchair or other devices;
  • is restricted by lung disease to a specific standard;
  • uses portable oxygen;
  • has a cardiac condition to a specific standard; or
  • is severely limited in his or her ability to walk, due to an arthritic, neurological, or orthopedic condition.

Although many people, such as new mothers, people with minor injuries, and others can obviously benefit from the use of disabled parking privileges, each case must meet one of the six criteria listed above in order to qualify.

Certification of continued qualification and use must be provided every two years when requested by the DMV. Additionally, the plate must be surrendered upon death or inability to use.

Okay, now I’m getting off this topic because I can go on and on when it comes to this topic and being aware that the handicapped people need those spaces. It isn’t because they are lazy, out of shape, or just don’t care. They would love to be able to park out on the north 40 and still be able to breathe and not pay the price for wanting to go to the store or pick up a child from school.

I tried to find a video on handicapped parking for our state. But there is a good video from Pittsburgh that shows the problem and the stupidity of people.

 

Video shows how handicapped parking cheats frustrate disabled Pittsburghers

Submitted by:  Sandie Divan

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  28 Comments
  1. Happy Times November 17, 2013 at 9:54 am · Reply

    I love this article because it brings to light a growing problem. I see this happening everywhere I do as well.

    I must play a little devil’s advocate for a second, however, because this is also a problem with MARKED handicap cars parking in non-handicapped spaces.

    I have on many occasions been to a business where they have marked handicapped spots, but handicapped vehicles don’t use them. The other day I followed one in to Walmart and there was a rare regular stall open right in front, RIGHT NEXT TO AN OPEN HANDICAPPED STALL. The car in front of me had a marked handicap license plate so I assumed they would take that stall and I could have the other. Nope, they pulled in to the regular stall. I at first assumed, maybe someone other than the handicapped person was driving or in the vehicle. After I parked and walked the entire parking lot length, I saw the occupants leaving that vehicle still. An elderly woman with a walker was being driven by her husband. Why would they not just take the handicapped stall they are authorized to use? Now, I understand that regular stalls are for everyone, but if there are marked stalls separated out for handicap vehicles, they should then be used for that purpose, or they should have no complaint if others use the handicapped stalls. If they are going to complain about non handicapped people parking in their stalls, then they should not park in the other stalls (unless all handicapped stalls are full).

    • Nonbeliever November 17, 2013 at 12:05 pm · Reply

      That is hilarious.
      Maybe it didn’t occur to you that the driver was feeling just a little bit stronger on that day and decided to leave the handicapped spot for someone in greater need.
      The placard doesn’t mean they are required to only use the posted handicapped stalls. If it did then they who be sorely out of luck when people like you feel they somehow deserve to take it over because its vacant.
      It’s no wonder “we” are so overweight.
      Stop circling the parking lot for the closest spot and wasting fuel.
      A short walk won’t kill you.

      • Happy Times November 17, 2013 at 3:06 pm · Reply

        What is hilarious is your assumption that just because I was up front that I had been circling the parking lot. I had just pulled in the parking lot at the front drive so thanks for proving that ‘we’ all judge no matter what.

        And please, speak for yourself when you are stating ‘we’ are overweight. Sorry, that does not apply here. I happen to not mind walking from the back of a parking lot as I do it most of the time when I have time.

        • Nonbeliever November 17, 2013 at 7:52 pm · Reply

          Your entire comment was loaded with assumptions and judgements. If you don’t like people commenting then re read and think about what you are sharing with the public before you post it.

    • My Evil Twin November 17, 2013 at 1:29 pm · Reply

      Did you ever consider the possibility that the older couple you are bellyaching about, may actually have been parking in the next stall, rather than the handicapped stall, for the non selfish reason: “If we take up the only open handicapped stall, then if another handicapped person comes in, they may not be able to find one. So we will leave this stall for someone who may be worse off than we are.”
      I would suggest that you would be far better off to park way out in the lot anyway, as I’m sure your more than ample backside could use the exercise.

      • Happy Times November 17, 2013 at 3:12 pm · Reply

        I have considered, thanks. I am just making a point that although those who are handicapped complain about the parking (as they have a right since that is what it is for), they tend to do the same thing in reverse.

        And it was not the only spot, in fact, there were so many empty that it was tempting to use one.

        I also appreciate the health advice about walking. Although I try and do that more often than not, and it has kept my ‘probably smaller than yours’ backside in great shape. But nice of you to jump to a judgement.

  2. Maudie Fricker November 17, 2013 at 10:27 am · Reply

    Time for grandma to get a cell phone and learn how to use the photo app. Take a photo of the illegally parked vehicle and send it on to the p.d…be sure to get the lic plate in the photo. Some people think they are above the law or that ‘a few minutes won’t matter’. Maybe not to them, but it does to other people.

    • Sandie November 19, 2013 at 1:43 am · Reply

      Since I wrote the article, you must be referring to me not knowing how to use a cell phone. I did take pictures and I did send them in. Oh, yes, I very much know what to do with apps since I do have a smart phone and repair computers and do things on computers all day long. Egads how in the world would that have happened” You are assuming that all those who have grand children have no intelligence to use a phone and they must be a senior citizen and I am neither. And something that may shock you is that I don’t drive a car that would be associated with older people. It’s like someone where I use to work at thought that a handicapped person could never drive a sports car and that the handicap placard had to belong to someone else. Not all people who have a handicap can be easily detected. Like many have said, there are things that can’t be seen.

  3. Christine Shumate November 17, 2013 at 10:32 am · Reply

    I have never, personally, parked in a handicapped parking spot. I respect the handicapped people’s right to use them, I also know it is against the law, and respect the law. That being said, sometimes I wish I had a card for my back. There are times I am perfectly fine and can walk easily, and there are times, where looking at no spots near the entrance makes me dread walking into the store. So I can understand, to a small extent, why some people choose to park there. One of the things mentioned in the video talks about how normal seeming people who got their tag for $100 shouldn’t be using, them. Just because they don’t limp, or use a cane or “look” handicapped, doesn’t mean they aren’t. Their healthcare professional decided their condition, whatever it is, warrants the use of the sign.

    That being said, people who are in no way handicapped or use the “I’m just here for a second” should all be ticketed and fined a significant amount.

  4. Brian S November 17, 2013 at 11:38 am · Reply

    Sadly, just like they hand out percocets, like they are skittles, doctors out here hand out disabled placard approvals like they are going out of style…don’t blame that “stupid jerk” for finding a loophole, into your gig, blame the jackass doctor, who handed one to his good buddy & neighbor…

  5. Wanting a Handicap Plate November 17, 2013 at 12:16 pm · Reply

    So all I have to do is smoke my lungs out until I meet the requirements. Then I’ll be like the other 98% of the rest of the overweight’s who have a plaque hanging from their mirror.

    • Happy Times November 17, 2013 at 3:17 pm · Reply

      This is why there are more and more handicap spots at businesses. Heck, Walmart has about 40 spots in their parking lot. I am all for handing them out to people in need, but I have seen overweight individuals have one, just because they cannot walk that far, BECAUSE THEY ARE OVERWEIGHT. If they would lose weight, they would be able to walk. Very sad indeed.

      • My Evil Twin November 17, 2013 at 7:24 pm · Reply

        Hey sweet little looney tunes, er I mean happy times, did you ever consider that some people, (probably not the majority, but some,) are overweight because of medical problems, rather than the other way around? Of course not. You would never have considered that, would you? But you will lie and say you have.
        You are so full of crap it is pitiful.

      • Christine Shumate November 17, 2013 at 7:42 pm · Reply

        Just because you cannot see WHY someone is handicapped, do not automatically assume it is because they are fat. In fact, many people with chronic problems or back issues end up gaining weight because they are not physically able to exercise properly enough to keep the weight off. Now who’s judging?

        • Sandie November 19, 2013 at 1:46 am · Reply

          You are right Christine, was at a normal weight until they put me on steroids. Then my weight went way up. But there are many who gain weight or get pencil thin. Looking at someone and calling them fat and lazy is horrible. I have known people who have gained alot of weight because they keep feeding the belly. But that isn’t the case for everyone.

      • Nonbeliever November 17, 2013 at 8:10 pm · Reply

        Let me pose a couple of question for you to consider.
        Is every obese person just lazy and therefore take advantage of
        ” handicapped” placards and parking spots?
        Or is it possible that some of these obese people have had some type of health crisis/illness that resulted in their current condition?
        We do not know.
        Yes plenty of people abuse the system . It is unfortunate and selfish.
        However those of us who are still ambulatory should save the handicapped spaces for those with placards.
        No exceptions.
        Discretely contact the store manager if you feel the spot has been commandeered illegally.

  6. Annette Densley November 17, 2013 at 1:05 pm · Reply

    Finding nasty, accusatory notes on my car is a regular occurrence for me, as is being chewed out in public by well meaning people. My supposed crime? I have I disabled placard, and I use it when I need to. However to the misguided people who assume that because I am not in a wheel chair, I do not need it, or assume that because I don’t look age appropriate to require one, that I am using my elderly parents placard, which is illegal. In other instances people just plain do not look, the card my be on top of the dash instead of hanging, or the glare of the sun may make it invisible from their view.

    There is a lesson to be learned. If you think someone is abusing the privileged, report it. Report it to the store or to the police. Let them check it out. They can usually do it without causing a scene, or embarrassing a disabled person who is already having a difficult time just getting out and completing everyday activities that the rest of the public just takes for granted.

    Oh the notes I would like to leave on those judgmental peoples windshields. But instead I feel sorry for them. Apparently there is not enough going on in their own lives, so they think they have the right to jump into strangers. So, just take your rudeness elsewhere, My incurable illness and crippled body have a life to live.

  7. My Evil Twin November 17, 2013 at 1:32 pm · Reply

    The people who are not handicapped, but illegally park in the handicapped spots, are the same people who believe that no traffic regulations apply to them. They will pass on blind curves, blow stop signs and traffic signals, text as they drive, ride on the bumper of the car in front of them. . .In other words, they are selfish, and extremely stupid. They think they are above the law, and also that nothing bad can ever happen to them. In other words, they are just jerks.

  8. Laura Ross November 17, 2013 at 3:12 pm · Reply

    I think this problem is simply selfishness and handicapped permit yielding folks can be just as guilty. I was waiting to pull into a handicapped space at Costco and had another car with a handicapped permit cut me off and pull into the spot I was waiting for. Maybe they assumed that because I am not elderly, I didn’t need it as much as they. Whatever their reasoning, it was selfish and yes, made my life a little harder that day. See I personally don’t need that handicapped permit, I am the mother of a 4 yr old little girl with brain cancer. Her cancer took away her ability to walk initially, now she can walk for short lengths of time with assistance, but she requires a wheelchair for a very lengthy outing. Whatever their reasoning, it was self serving. I wish they could have seen me try to find a place to park my car that was safe to get my little girl in and out of the car with her wheelchair, while having to park her chair behind the car and hoping she didn’t take the brake off and roll into traffic while I got her baby brother out of the car. Handicapped spaces aren’t solely for the purpose of a shorter distance to have to walk. Sometimes it’s about safety too.

    I also have to admit, there has been more than one time I have come out of a store and realized I forgot to hang up my handicapped plackard, so to others it may have appeared I had parked there illegally.

    Just one more note, to Happy Times. I am one of those people that doesn’t always use a handicapped space, because I know how difficult it is to use a wheelchair in a regular stall. If my daughter isn’t with me I leave the handicapped space for someone who needs it. Perhaps that couple had the same thoughts, they could manage without the handicapped space because there was a regular one available that was still close to the store. And that left the handicapped space available for someone who might be in more need of it. Just a thought.

  9. Dolly November 17, 2013 at 5:06 pm · Reply

    My sister drives a van with a disabled plate as she is in a wheelchair. Yes, she has had to circle the parking lot many times when the handicapped spots are taken by someone without a placard. She has a wheelchair ramp that comes out of her side door, so the “empty space” with the diagonal blue stripes next to the handicapped spot must always be on the right side of her parking space. Usually she can find a space with the correct configuration, but occasionally she will have to back her vehicle in so that she can extend her ramp. The most frustrating situation occurs when someone thinks the blue striped space is just being “wasted” and parks there. When my sister returns to her vehicle with her groceries, she is then unable to get back into her van, and has to wait for that rude an inconsiderate person to return. On more than once occasion, this has happened in a rain storm and she is physically unable to use an umbrella. She used to have a van with a lift-ramp at the back and had trouble with people crowding too close to the back of her vehicle when she parked in a parallel space. People..please consider how your selfish action affects others. (Thanks, I’ll get off my soapbox now.)

    • Christine Shumate November 17, 2013 at 7:49 pm · Reply

      it is not a soapbox, it is a legitimate claim and people should pay attention and take heart.

  10. Zeke November 18, 2013 at 6:18 am · Reply

    Not sure exactly “why” people park in these spots when they shouldn’t but, I’ll bet they are overall just ignorant people. You know, the ignorant annoying neighbor that everyone hates. The idiot who drives around like “an idiot” The one who butts in line all the time or feels like the world evolves around them. The moron who has 24 items in the 10 items only checkout line and ignores everyone in line as they are being checked out. (and they are parked in a handicap spot at the time too) The list could go on but I think we know who these folks are. If parking in a handicap access zone is not a problem for them, there are many others activities in their day that are even easier to annoy folks with. That’s just who they are. Not sure if any can ever be done about that.

  11. Festus November 18, 2013 at 1:14 pm · Reply

    You people sure get worked up over handicap parking…

    • My Evil Twin November 18, 2013 at 4:12 pm · Reply

      Oh you betcha! Keeps the old blood pressure up where it belongs, don’tcha know! :D

  12. Sgnative November 18, 2013 at 7:25 pm · Reply

    Not to undermine the reason for this article, but its interesting to also see expectant mother parking and parking for parents with sick children. I am grateful to those businesses who see there are others besides those with handicaps that can’t get a placard or don’t need one for a long time get some spaces reserved for them. It’s also disturbing when people who have no respect for others park in any of the above referenced spots. People, walking is good for you. If you can, just do it. It’s like those who race to the stop lights. We all get there at the same time eventually. Obey the laws of our land and you won’t have to worry about fines and offending others as much.

    • Sandie November 19, 2013 at 1:49 am · Reply

      I think those spots for pregnant women is pretty cool. It’s nice to see stores that take into consideration who is shopping there. On my good days I usually never use my handicap placard, but the days that are more difficult I do. Walking is a privilege, not a curse.

  13. Allie November 19, 2013 at 2:28 pm · Reply

    Keep it simple. If there is a handicap license plate/placard on a car, then they are legally allowed to park in a handicapped space. if not, they should be ticketed. Personally, I am thankful that I don’t have one. That means I am fortunate enough to have the strength, energy and ability to walk into a store from any parking space. Yes, some days when it is windy, rainy, very hot, or very cold it is uncomfortable. But, it is only a 2 minute walk, I’ll survive. Those who are also fortunate to also have the strength, energy and ability should also be thankful and stay out of handicapped parking spaces. Most people who legally use the handicapped spaces probably wish they didn’t need to.

  14. The Dc July 10, 2014 at 10:56 am · Reply

    I agree with most everybody here. The only way to really solitify our concerns is organize a group of somesort and rite our congressmen. I am in a wheelchair myself because I have Multiple Sclerosishowever, however, I park further away than people whom are able to ambulate to enable those that really cant wal a distance a chance.
    I am a geriatric clinician and witness spouces visiting and/or comeone whom is disabled and cant find a handicap spot, so they do not visit, I’ve watched them get in their car and leave. I have gotten into verbal altercations on more then one account with individuals who werent disabled and looked right at me, smiled, and said; “oh well, I have the sign so you cant do anything.” Now, one thing you can do if you see the person and know legitimitly they are not disabled is park behind them w/your sign in place stipulating your disabled. The only way to have your car removed is to call the police and then they’ll have to answer to the police why they are parked there. If I confron the individual I tell them, that “they have names for people like you” among other things. It’s sad but if enough people voice their concerns to the right parties perhaps something can be done.

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