New Smartphone App Helps Combat Illegal Handicapped Parking

May 23, 2012

May 23, 2012 — Those who illegally park in designated handicapped parking spots and might want to think twice before doing so. The growing issue of able-bodied citizens in handicapped parking has outraged disabled drivers: such instances, they say, violate parking rules and regulations in the ADA. To address this concern, states have broadened federal rules for parking in handicapped lots to include “enhanced” signs that threaten fines and towing. Such signs deter violators by clarifying parking laws as well as highlighting the consequences of violating them.

                                                                                  Tow-Away Parking Permit from                   Disabled Parking Permit from                    Handicapped Permit from

Georgia State Sign               Oregon State Sign                 Tennessee State Sign
via     via     via

According to a local CBS report in Washington DC, a shortage of normal parking spaces in the Washington area has exacerbated illegal handicap violations and even created a black market for counterfeit and stolen parking permits. Police believe that these permits are a hot item for thieves and cite an incident in which burglars smashed car windows to steal handicapped parking permits rather than valuables and electronics. In another case, police arrested a 19-year-old man who had stolen 19 parking permits. To clamp down on the black market and make it more difficult to counterfeit parking permits, MyParkingPermit offers SecuraPass Hologram parking permits, pictured below, that are virtually impossible to duplicate.

The latest addition, however, in the battle against illegal handicap parking is a new Smartphone app that assists disabled drivers. Right now, 1 in 5 people need handicapped parking, but 1 in 4 cars that use disabled parking shouldn’t be using it. The app works to aid disabled drivers by identifying and suggesting accessible parking through the Smartphone’s GPS. The app would also permit citizens to enforce parking laws against illegal handicap parking by allowing one to snap a photo of the violator’s car and send it to the police. If clearing up spaces for those who need it isn’t incentive enough, a portion of the ticket’s revenue goes to the app user’s favorite charity.

Parking Mobility, the new app to protect handicapped parking.

However, while this app might help in the battle, it has some limitations. For one, not all disabled drivers have a Smartphone. Moreover, chances are that disabled drivers are elderly folk who might be unfamiliar with the latest Smartphone technology. In addition, municipalities would have to incur the cost of paying for the app’s server. The app also faces a legal hurdle since it can only be used in states that find the app constitutional. Thus, the best deterrents are handicap parking signs with a clear warning of a fine or towing. While signs cannot catch violators in the act and inform the police, they serve as a preventative tool in discouraging would-be-violators from violating handicap parking rules.

– N. Gilliat

Category: News, No Parking, Parking Tech

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