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Thread: State cracks down on improper use of disabled placards

  1. #1
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    State cracks down on improper use of disabled placards

    East Bay Times (California) 12/30/17

    By The Associated Press
    SACRAMENTO
    California officials plan to crack down on thousands of "dead" drivers.

    A new law taking effect Monday will require the Department of Motor Vehicles to increase its oversight of the disabled placard program, including searching the Social Security Administration's "death file" and canceling placards issued to drivers who are now deceased, The Sacramento Bee reported .
    The blue placards let drivers park for free at on-street parking meters or in spots designated with blue signs conveniently located near building entrances.

    A state audit last year found more than 26,000 Californians over age 100 had disabled placards. But there are only about 8,000 centenarians in California and most no longer drive.
    State officials say many of those cards are now used by family members or friends of the original holders. Other cards have been purchased illegally. "This is depriving legitimate disabled people from using the spaces, and to some extent people build animosity toward the disabled community when they see that." Democratic state Sen. Jerry Hill of San Mateo told the newspaper.

    The new law requires placard holders to renewthem every six years and provide proof of their
    name and date of birth by submitting documents approved by the DMV. That replaces automatic two-year renewal.
    Auditors estimated that several hundred thousand of the state's 3 million placards are likely being used improperly.
    The DMV has tripled its placard abuse citations in the past three years, from 526 in 2013-14 to 1,625 citations in 2016-17. Pat McConahey, spokeswoman for Disability Rights California, called the placards "a crucial right. for those with disabilities, including some that may not be obvious.
    It allows people with disabilities to move around the community like everyone else." she said of the placards.


    I would have rather the Department of Motor Vehicles renew the placards every two years and require proof of name and date of birth and disability documentation, instead of every six years. I suppose the rationale is that it takes too much clerical work to check 3,000,000 placard users so frequently.

  2. #2
    I think every 2 years is onerous for those who have documented "permanent" qualified disabilities. Perhaps a compromise of 4 years would be acceptable.

    It would be good to see the state actually enforce some of the regulations already on the books, such as the requirement that the placard/plates be returned to the DVM upon the death of the placard owner. It clearly states this requirement in the documents received with the placard, yet when I tried to do this with my mother's placard upon her death, the DMV person told me that they don't take them back, and suggested I just toss it. We have horrible problems with people using their dead grandmother's or other family members' placards years after the owner's death...just one of the abuses that occur in California all the time.

    This issue of the owner driving or not is moot...my mother was unable to drive for the last 25 years of her life, but legitimately had a placard which could be used by whomever was transporting her in their vehicle or hers.

    (KLD)
    The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by SCI-Nurse View Post
    I think every 2 years is onerous for those who have documented "permanent" qualified disabilities. Perhaps a compromise of 4 years would be acceptable.

    (KLD)
    Or perhaps the original application for the placard could require the documentation necessary (usually a doctor's signed clinical notes or a signed document) to prove "permanent" qualified disabilities, then every 2 years, renewal would only require name, date of birth documentation as stated in the article. I suppose that by the fact that the person holding the placard can request renewal proves she/he is alive (but then again, maybe not...but it is at least something). I presume when the state reviews the social security "death files" and finds a placard holder is deceased, they will cancel the placard and not renew it, if someone with ill intent submits documentation of name and date of birth at renewal. Every two years seems a small amount of effort to help the state try to solve this problem for all of us placard holders.

  4. #4
    I've never understood why permanently disabled people, who will clearly and certifiably never "get well," need to go to the considerable trouble of renewing placards at all. In Colorado, we must renew every three years - and the same rules apply to people with temporary injuries as to those with chronic conditions that can only get worse. There ought to be a two-tier system, with permanent placards assigned to permanently disabled individuals; upon death, the placard number should be flagged as soon as the Social Security administration is notified. People with temporary afflictions, or conditions capable of resolution, would need to reapply periodically. I don't see why this issue has become so complicated and burdensome to people who need the service most.
    MS with cervical and thoracic cord lesions

  5. #5
    In Washington State you now need a medical prescription every five years to have a placard.
    http://knkx.org/post/washington-law-...-parking-abuse
    I have had periodic paralysis all my life. I lost my ability to walk in 2011 beginning with a spinal block, which was used for a hip fracture caused by periodic paralysis.

  6. #6
    In CA the HP placard has to be renewed every two years. But they just mail it to me without me having to do anything.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by August West View Post
    In CA the HP placard has to be renewed every two years. But they just mail it to me without me having to do anything.
    Not any more, as of the new year. See my original post on this thread about the change in California law regarding the disability parking placard. Notice that the dateline is Sacramento, from a California newspaper, the East Bay Times.
    Last edited by gjnl; 12-31-2017 at 11:32 AM.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by gjnl View Post
    East Bay Times (California) 12/30/17

    By The Associated Press
    SACRAMENTO
    ...
    The new law requires placard holders to renew them every six years and provide proof of their
    name and date of birth by submitting documents approved by the DMV. That replaces automatic two-year renewal.
    If this document requires submitting only proof of name and date of birth then it seems pretty much worthless.

  9. #9
    The main problem with placard abuse in California is that it grants you automatic free parking. I've never lived in CA, but I've traveled there a time or six and if I recall correctly there is a state law that says you don't have to pay a parking meter if you have a disabled permit.

    While I appreciate the sentiment (it's harder, and back in the day probably impossible for those us of who use wheelchairs or with other disabilities to physically get to some meters in order to put change in them) this creates a huge incentive for someone to acquire placards they don't need. I suspect abuses in other states and municipalities that don't grant you free parking are probably a lot less. Just walk down a busy street with on-street parking in San Francisco and see what percentage of the parking is taken up by people showing disabled placards so they get free parking with no time limits. I was in Chinatown about a year and a half ago in SF and in two blocks 16 of the 17 cars parked on the street had disabled placards, I'm sure the majority of them were AB cats who just wanted a free place to park while they were at work so they borrowed Grandma's extra placard.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by August West View Post
    If this document requires submitting only proof of name and date of birth then it seems pretty much worthless.
    Hopefully, the combination of having to verify name and date of birth and the DMV using the social security "death files" to catch people using the placard after the owner of the placard is dead will help cut down on fraud. It is a step or two better than just sending out placards every two years without question.

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