free parking - flickr user alancleaver_2000Enlarge Photo
If you’re like me, you seethe beneath the surface every time you see an able-bodied person use a blue or red disabled parking placard to take up the best, closest parking space in the busiest section of town. Urrggg.
Did you know that in California, one in ten drivers is now legally registered to use these special parking passes? It allows them free parking in metered spaces for an unlimited time, or access to special parking spaces reserved for the disabled? And according to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), it’s estimated that one in three of the drivers using these tags are doing so illegally. The result is fewer parking spaces for disabled drivers who really need priority parking, or they are abusing the system without paying their fair share.
Cities, towns, and states are in financial crisis. Every time someone uses a disabled parking placard illegally, they could be costing the local government much-needed revenue. In fact, state-wide lost revenue in California in this area adds up to millions of dollars. For that reason, the California DMV is beginning to crackdown in high-volume parking areas on motorists who are shirking their civic responsibilities.
Part of the problem centers on the fact that the disabled placard holder does not have to own or drive the vehicle its used in. Instead, they simply need to accompany the vehicle or be in close proximity. But with localities attempting to raise more and more revenue by increasing parking fees higher and higher, there is a temptation to abuse the system and use a friend’s or family member’s disable parking pass illegally.
The problem could also be described this way: too many drivers in California are following Mark Twain’s thoughts on temptation. Twain said, “I deal with temptation by yielding to it.” Unfortunately these days in California, yielding to your temptation in this area will not only draw the ire of fellow drivers, but you may have a very unpleasant run-in with the police where your “borrowed” and illegally-used disabled parking placard will be confiscated.