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January 11, 2022

New app targets drivers who skirt rules on disabled parking

A jump in the number of able-bodied drivers parking in disabled-only spots has some people wondering if it's time to make the punishment more than a simple fine.

Disabld Perfectly healthy people often use permits belonging to disabled family members, hang on to them after the holder has died or no longer needs it or simply park in the disabled spots with no permit at all.

In addition to shelling out $250, perhaps rule-breakers should be forced to sit down and watch videos that explain the impact they have on someone who doesn't have a choice of what kind of parking stall to use, the Canadian Paraplegic Association’s Barry Lindemann told the Calgary Herald.

"You wish that guys would get the message that it's not a perk. If someone could walk, he'd walk football fields to get where he's going."

Many jurisdictions, including Toronto and Edmonton, give disabled permit-holders free parking at any meter – making them a valuable perk. This, according to the Washington Post, is why a black market in stolen placards has developed in many cities.

The Post article points out that police and parking control officers are often reluctant to challenge drivers on whether or not they’re really disabled. But that doesn’t stop a few crusaders from cursing suspected abusers on the street.

Just because you don't see any visible disabilities, it doesn't mean the person is breaking the law, of course. It could be a disability like asthma, or a heart condition. So don't confront them. But do report them.

Parking Mobility, for instance, is an iPhone app that allows users to report cars that are illegally parked in accessible spaces in Vancouver. It also helps users find accessible parking and suggest locations for disabled parking.

The user uploads a series of photos — the licence plate, the front windshield showing there isn’t a placard, a shot showing the parking spot. Add to that a GPS and time stamp to show where the infraction took place and you have a report ready for the city’s parking authority.

Is illegal parking in disabled-only spots a big issue in your city? What do you do when you see someone you think is gaming the system? Or is it none of your business?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...