I have a handicap tag – it may not be “PC” to write “handicap(ed),” but that’s what I am, and, assuming my one-year-old grandsons don’t make off with it, I have a cane to prove it.
I am able to perambulate, albeit not fast and not for long hikes, so if all the handicap slots are full, I look for a regular spot as close as I can get to my destination.
I also look at the cars parking in the handicap slots.
Too many cars in the handicap slots lack a handicap tag or a handicap plate.
No tag, no plate = $250 ticket.
In Florida drivers are supposed to remove the hang tag from the rear view mirror when driving; some do, many don’t. Sometimes the driver forgets to rehang the tag, but rarely.
I was at a mall in Norfolk VA once when I spotted a tagless car in a handicapped slot. I called this to the attention of a passing cop who prepared to write a ticket. The driver came out of the mall – walking briskly, no sign of a handicap – and told the cop he had a tag but simply forgot to hang it up. The cop told me that since the guy had the tag, he couldn’t write the ticket.
I stayed a little longer and watched as the driver and his passenger returned to the car – neither showed any signs of a physical handicap. Mental handicap, perhaps.
The other day I watched as two young (compared to me anyway) women get out of a car parked in a handicapped slot and strolled into the nearby supermarket. The car had a hang tag.
Florida law makes it pretty clear that unless someone in the vehicle has a physical handicap, using the handicap tag is unlawful. Unfortunately, as my Number One Son the Cop reminds me that there aren’t enough cops to go around so I am reluctant to call the local police department – even on the administrative number; I never would use 9-1-1 for a handicap parking complaint – inconsiderate slob who parked in the handicap slot probably would be gone by the time the cops arrived.
But the ones who have a handicap tag thanks to a relative and who “forget” to remove the tag on the mirror before jaunting off to whatever store is their destination, these people deserve a summons.
I suppose that when they get to court with the tag in hand the judge – ignoring an absence of handicap – will (may be forced to) dismiss the charge. Still, the turkey who unnecessarily took up a handicap slot may remember the inconvenience of having to go to court and reconsider before abusing the handicap slot.
It probably is not “wise” to challenge a person who parks in a handicap slot about the hang tag or a lack of visible handicap. Still, I do occasionally ask a driver who parks in a handicap slot sans hang tag if he (or she) forgot the tag. I try to at least seem polite: “Excuse me, did you forget to hang the handicap tag?”
The inconsiderate ones, whom I assume are mentally handicapped, are the ones I resent the most. People who are too lazy to walk an extra few steps from a “regular” parking slot. They are abusing the tag – as well as taking up a slot that a truly handicapped person – me – might need.
Even before I joined the ranks of those who have a hang tag I resented people who, with no obvious mobility handicap, parked in a handicap space.
I have learned patience; the handicap tag or plate may be there because a passenger has a mobility issue. I was grumbling at one driver who had a tag and was parked in a handicap slot until I saw him remove a fold-up wheelchair from the trunk and wheel it around for his passenger. (The driver wasn’t going to run any races himself.)
Granted, not everyone’s mobility handicap is as obvious as mine – remember the cane. I’ve seen others who slowly make their way from Point A to Point B and I wonder why they don’t apply for a handicap hang tag or license plate.
Granted, this is a relatively minor aggravation in the grand scheme of things, but it is an aggravation none-the-less.