Finding a convenient parking space can be a nuisance. But gaming a system that’s supposed to assist the disabled to avoid hunting for a parking place or to park a little closer to your destination is deplorable. There are almost 3 million of the placards, and state officials don’t know how many are being used improperly. But it appears to be distressingly common.
Stings conducted by the Department of Motor Vehicles routinely find people parking in disabled spaces and using other people’s placards. A state audit in 2014 found 26,000 placards issued to people over 100 years old — in a state with about 8,000 centenarians. A more recent audit found serious shortcomings in the DMV’s administration of the program, including in the processing of applications.
A new state law should address some of the problems. SB 611, by state Sen. Jerry Hill, requires the DMV to conduct quarterly audits that crosscheck applications with medical records and limits the number of replacement placards. It also requires an annual comparison of the DMV list with Social Security Administration records. It won’t end all the abuse, but it should reduce the number of cheaters. Thumbs up.