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Abuse of disabled parking placards sparks bill to improve enforcement

Online ads have asked for disability parking placards spreading the abuse of accessibility parking. (Photo: CBS Austin)

Abusing disabled parking placards is a major problem and Texas lawmakers are set to talk about a bill that could help enforcement.

When drivers get a disability parking permit, Coalition of Texans with Disabilities’ Chase Bearden says they can either choose to get two placards or a placard and a license plate. That’s why he says sometimes, those placards can spread to other drivers.

“Placard abuse runs rampant,” Bearden said.

That’s why he’s in favor of House Bill 3583, which would require drivers with a temporary disabled parking placard “provide written evidence of the disability” when a peace officer asks.

“There’s only so many spots and a lot of people do need it,” Bearden said. “Not having that spot can be extremely difficult, it can actually make it to where employment fails it can make it to where when you’re trying to get in the store you can’t get in."

On Thursday, the House Transportation committee is set to bring up the bill. Bearden plans to testify for the bill.

There are concerns for the bill, though. Those include privacy, essentially making a person have to show a stranger what disability they have.

Harassment is also a concern. Some people have complained about being harassed when parking in a spot because they may not look like they have a disability. They don’t want that to increase with this bill.

“There’s always going to be someone who’s upset that they’ve been asked if that tag is necessary, but I think they should step back and also remember that they’re just trying to make sure there’s enough spaces even for them,” Bearden said.

Even though Bearden is for the bill, he says it’s not the solution.

“I think it’s a starting point, but this state needs to take a very serious look at its accessibility parking laws and how we enforce it so we can do a much better job,” Bearden said.

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