Handicap parking has gotten way out of hand. There are laws that require a certain amount of the parking spaces be available at locations. This in itself seems like a great deal. What lawmakers didn’t take into account, was the laziness of people and the corruptibility of doctors.
In Texas you can get three types of handicap parking permission. You can get a permanent license plate, a permanent window tag to hang from your rear view mirror, or you can get a temporary window tag. These all are supposed to be authorized by a doctor. The problem comes from the temporary tags. Temporary to me means not permanent, and limited to a short, well defined period of time. Apparently to some people it means forever. I have seen “temporary” tags that are for over 3 years. If you have a handicap which makes it so you need to park close for that long then it is probably a permanent handicap. You should get a permanent tag. Otherwise you should only have a short term tag.
I would love to see a limit of six months put on these tags. If you have a temporary injury then you should be going to the doctor at least every six months right? Doctors shouldn’t be giving out these tags without cause. The rules (http://www.dot.state.tx.us/services/vehicle_titles_and_registration/disabled.htm) are pretty clear about what a handicap is. The problem is the penalties aren’t very big. If you make it a felony for a doctor to sign the form unlawfully they’ll think twice. After all, if they knowingly lie on a form submitted to the government aren’t they committing fraud? It seems that there should be stiff penalties for this. The other problem is enforcement. Most police do nothing to enforce these laws. I see cops setting up speed traps all over the place, but rarely ticketing for this. Perhaps the reason is the penalty money goes to the state, so local governments won’t enforce the laws. I’m not sure what the reason, but it seems like it would be very easy to randomly enforce these rules. After all, if someone is actually handicapped it should be easy to catch them and check.
So who gets hurt by all of this you may ask? Well, my grandmother, who is over 80 years old and in a wheelchair has to be dropped off at the door while the people driving go find a spot somewhere further out because of these lazy jerks. When I see someone pull into one of these spots and then run into a store because or rain, or something of that sort I want to make sure they don’t get back into their car without a real handicap. It’s a crime, and we should do something about it.