Guest Author - Kim Lynch
Everyday all across the USA a common crime is committed again and again. To the perpetrators, it seems like a small thing. They pull into parking spots clearly designated for the Handicapped, easily get out of their vehicles and walk without difficulty into a nearby building. They justify their actions with weak excuses. The most common excuse, they're only going to be a "minute." To those who are disabled that "minute" is a lifetime.
It's difficult to watch this abuse of a system designed to help those with a real need. There rarely seems to be any law enforcement around to ticket the offenders. Direct confrontation can be risky and typically has little effect. Worse you may be confronting someone who has a hidden disability.
There are a variety of conditions that qualify an individual for a handicapped placard. Many of these disabilities are not always visible. A person who looks "healthy" may have a serious illness or disability that is not immediately evident. Many people who look "fine" do have disabilities related to heart or lung conditions. No one wants to put a person with a qualifying condition in a defensive position. That leaves the option of reporting the suspected offence to the authorities. Understandably, parking offences are a low priority, so the offender is usually gone by the time someone in authority arrives. So the cycle of parking abuse repeats again and again.
HandicappedFraud.org gives ordinary citizens an option to help draw attention to the abuse of handicapped parking spaces by the able bodied. The next time you see someone without a handicapped placard or license plate park in a designated handicapped spot, copy down the license plate, the time and location and report the incident at HandicappedFraud.org. You can also leave a post-it note with the message "You've been reported at Handicapped Fraud.org." The post-its can be obtained free or downloaded from the handicapped.org web site.
Placards are sometimes stolen, reproduced or miss used by friends or relatives of a qualified person. If you suspect that an able bodied person is illegally using the handicapped placard of another, record the placard number in addition to the other information.
If you're lucky, you and your loved ones will never qualify for a handicapped parking spot. To those who truly need these spots they are a necessity. A handicapped parking spot can mean the difference between being able to access a facility and having to go home.