State law encourages whistle blowing on disabled parking space abuse | Arkansas Blog

Friday, August 11, 2017

State law encourages whistle blowing on disabled parking space abuse

Posted By on Fri, Aug 11, 2017 at 12:52 PM

parking.jpg
The state announces that it now has a system for people to make complaints about abuse of parking spaces set aside for those with disabilities.

Under Act 1003 of 2017, the Arkansas General Assembly established a mechanism for a person to report the suspected misuse of a disabled license plate, disabled placard, or a disabled parking space to the Office of Motor Vehicle.

Beginning Friday, August 11, 2017, report misuse of parking for persons with disabilities by calling 1-866-NOPARK5 or completing the Misuse of Parking Complaint Report at portal.dfa.arkansas.gov/MisuseParking. All recorded incident data will be collected to further the cause in advocating Arkansas Laws, educating those with parking privileges and those that continue to violate the rights of Arkansans with disabilities.
The website at which complaints can be made cautions:

Complaint must be based on fact rather than suspicion. Please remember not all disabilities are apparent nor does every individual with a disability use a mobility device such as a cane, walker, scooter or wheelchair. Never confront any person you think may be abusing the program. If the situation requires immediate attention, please contact your local police department.
No kidding. I well remember my embarrassment — and a small degree of subsequent satisfaction — when an officious vigilante called me down  years ago after I whipped my mother's car into a handicapped parking spot in front of a restaurant in Lake Charles, La., and I dashed in full good health for the front door. He couldn't see the license plate for the disabled on the back of the car. Nor could he see my wheelchair-bound mother sitting inside the restaurant waiting for me to roll her out.

I've asked what happens after a complaint is made? Further investigation? A letter to a suspected offender? Does it go on your permanent record? I understand the sentiment in Rep. Kim Hammer's bill, but .....

UPDATE: State spokesman Scott Hardin elaborates:

A couple of things will take place. One, we will forward the complaint to local law enforcement (it is up to them whether or not to follow up on it). Two, once we’ve verified it is a vehicle that does not qualify for parking for those with disabilities, we (DFA) will send them a letter informing them of the alleged offense. The letter makes clear we (DFA) are not ticketing them, etc. We are simply noting we are aware of it and confirm we’ve forwarded to local law enforcement. Our hope is the letter of notification is a deterrent in itself.

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