I discovered an application recently for the iPhone called HandicappedFraud. Based on the website www.handicappedfraud.org, it is a fast and easy way for community members to report placard and handicapped parking abuse.
I am elated that such an app and website have been created. Even more, I am dumbfounded that there is a need to create a program and application to help reinforce pre-existing laws.
Among one of the most socially unacceptable principles, in my opinion, is illegally parking in a handicap spot.
Aside from being legally wrong to park in handicapped parking, it is also ethically wrong. It is prudent for us to adhere to these laws and moral obligations.
As a society we have fought for equal opportunities and equal rights. Civil rights legislation has made it accessible and safe for those who are physically disabled. But some citizens of our country have essentially disassembled such regulations with defiant acts against our very own by taking their reserved handicapped spaces.
It is also illegal to borrow someone elses placard (that little plastic tag that hangs from the rearview mirror). For those who somehow “acquire” a handicapped placard (such as borrowing one from grandma), that is illegal too. It is assigned to the individual, and the individual must be physically in the car.
Some forms of etiquette can be debated, such as using a handicapped bathroom stall, pressing the handicapped button for automated doors, or perhaps a situation where an elevator is full with able bodies, and the person in a wheelchair is stuck waiting for the next ride.
This is not a matter of etiquette. This is our legal responsibility.
Although the disrespect of those with disabilities is a strong enough point to jump on a soapbox over, it is also the law. These stipulations are in place to maintain accessibility to those who are ultimately less fortunate than others.
Yet these violations make the job of our local law enforcement an arduous one. Even when reprimanded the consequences are small in comparison to the disadvantages it causes others. This is not acceptable. Something has to be done.
The fine at OCCC if caught illegally parked in handicapped parking is a mere $100 fine. The OCPD fines are as high as $500.
You can’t put a cost on arrogance. It should be nothing more than simple courtesy to adhere to handicapped parking rules.
It is a universal parking design. Ignorance is not an option; laziness is not a disability.
Do the right thing.
—Casey R. Akard
To contact Casey R. Akard, email firstname.lastname@example.org.