If you see someone who seems able-bodied, without a visible permit, park in a spot reserved for disabled drivers, do you say anything? Complaints have been pouring into a provincial hotline to help report and track that kind of behaviour.
It was set up last June by the Social Planning and Research Council of BC (SPARC), which administers the handicap permit program and most complaints come from across Metro Vancouver.
It’s an annoyance for people who actually need the reserved spots and it angers many able-bodied drivers as well.
“I have noticed it so many times and I am really mad at those people. Handicap parking is for those people who cannot park in other places,” says one driver, but he admits he wouldn’t approach others who abuse the spaces.
“I just look at them. If I say something, people come after me and I don’t have the energy to deal with those idiots!” he told News1130.
Guillaume is also hesitant to say something to a driver who appears to be taking advantage of the program. “You never know if a person doesn’t have some less obvious reason to use it. I guess that’s why people accept it; you never know the extent of a handicap.”
There are suggestions that increasing fines for abusing accessible parking might make people think twice before taking a handicap spot. Fines right now range from $50 to $100 in BC, while in Washington State, it is a $450 fine.