Abusing disabled parking spots

A relative recently told me of a friend of hers who routinely parks in handicapped spaces just because they are more convenient. What is it with people who try to sneak into parking spaces that are reserved for people with handicaps? Are they simply too lazy to walk the extra distance that the other spaces might require? Do they think these reserved spaces are some kind of benefit provided to the undeserving that unfairly discriminates against them? Do they resent anyone being given a privilege that is not also available to them?

Handicapped parking spaces usually work on the honor system in that no one checks that the user has the right to use it before they enter the space, though police may spot-check parked cars to see if there is at least a permit on display. But this does not help the person who arrives and finds the spaces already illegally taken.

But at a NASCAR event in Sonoma County, the organizers have taken a much more pro-active approach to preventing abuse. Not only must people show their permit before they are allowed to park, their IDs are also checked to see if the permit is valid and corresponds to someone in the car, since people sometimes use a permit assigned to someone else.


  1. Chiroptera says

    Are they simply too lazy to walk the extra distance that the other spaces might require?

    I should point out (not as a criticism of your comment, more to add another point) that the issue isn’t only walking distance — there are places around where I live and shop where the spots for the disabled aren’t always the closes spaces to the entrance. Much of the issue is space: many people using disabled parking permits need extra space to get into and out of cars because of mobility issues (the use of walkers or other devices, the need for a friend to assist them into and out of the car, just the need to open the doors completely wide open, and so forth).

    Taking up a disabled parking spot isn’t just making the disabled walk a little farther to the door; it’s making it very difficult for some of them to get out of and into their cars.

  2. blf says

    The UK’s ex-chancellor even does it, George Osborne’s use of disabled parking space ‘wildly out of touch’: “Head of leading disability charity Scope attacks chancellor over use of disabled parking space at M4 service station”.

    (I was actually searching-for a much older article I dimly recall, where several members of the board of directors of a UK charity(? agency?) heavily involved in working with the disabled all had disability plates — despite none of them being eligible.)

  3. Lofty says

    It’s just a giant sense of entitlement that some people display. Assholes will be assholes.

  4. raym says

    And then there are those special people who park in the fire lane outside of a supermarket. With their engine running…

  5. Heidi Nemeth says

    To myself I have rationalized those (tempting, often unused) handicapped parking spaces as the government’s way of encouraging us able-bodied folk to walk a few extra steps every time we park our cars. Those few extra steps add up to healthier people over the courses of our sedantary lives.

  6. johnson catman says

    Lofty @3:

    Assholes will be assholes.

    Privileged assholes who think that the rules for everyone else just don’t apply to them.

  7. says

    Parking spaces for the disabled are still few and far between in the Asian countries I’ve been in, excluding Japan.

    While it’s not the same thing, round my way drivers constantly park on crosswalks including corners with ramps for wheelchairs, one of the few accomodations for the disabled. Driver attitudes amount to, “Nobody was there when I parked!” The idea that people might want to cross after they parked never occurs to them.

    Yes, there are usually parking spaces far from the corners. But even if there aren’t, it’s still illegal to park on crosswalks.

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