Many disabled people’s conditions make it difficult or impossible for them to walk long distances. In Missouri, the law recognizes this and attempts to deal with the problem by designating certain parking spaces as disabled parking only.
The system is supposed to work by having disabled drivers and passengers use a placard when they park in a handicapped spot, to show that they have the right to park there. Vehicles without the placard may be subject to an expensive ticket.
However, according to Disability Scoop, people across the country get around this by misusing a disabled placard. They do not have a disability; they simply want to park close to their destination. Besides taking advantage of the system, these people make life harder for the actually disabled, by unfairly taking their spaces away.
Some states have taken action by increasing the penalties for illegally parking in a handicapped spot, or increasing enforcement of existing laws. A few states have started requiring users to have a photo included on the placards, so that police can check if the person using the placard is the one the state assigned it to.
Some people say that places that allow disabled people to park for free at parking meters contribute to the problem. Charging all motorists at meters would deter people from stealing other people’s placards, they say.
Whatever the reason, abuse of disabled parking laws is a pathetic and unfeeling thing to do. Legitimately disabled people need those spaces to allow them to get around with as much independence as their condition allows.