California looking to stop people from Abusing Disabled Parking Placards
A California audit in 2016 revealed that over 26,000 people over the age of 100 in the state had blue disabled placards. According to state officials, there are only about 8,000 people older than 100 in California, and not many of them are driving anymore. The placard allows people to park at any street meter for free or at prime blue-stenciled stalls at the front of store parking lots. Those vehicles with disabled placards are likely being driven by children or friends of formerly disabled drivers who have died, or it could be others who purchased the placards illegally. State Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) stated,
I’ve frankly gotten tired of pulling into a Home Depot or Target and seeing someone get out and run into the store. That is just not right. 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.
To try and stop this abuse, a new state law (SB 611) took effect late last year that requires the state Department of Motor Vehicles to tighten its oversight of the state’s disabled placard program. The DMV now has to review the federal Social Security Administration’s “death file” and cancel placards of deceased drivers. The audit report noted that officials accepted applications without the required medical documentation, issued too many duplicates and failed to cancel the placards of people who had died. Auditors estimated that several hundred thousand of the state’s three million placards were likely being used fraudulently. DMV officials stated that it will take some time for them to fully comply with the requirements. Hopefully, this new law will help end the abuse of disabled parking placards so that there is disabled parking spaces available for people that actually need it.