Being born and raised in Florida has taught me many different things about a wide variety of people - people of all types of cultural backgrounds, religions, beliefs, etc. While observing the world around me, I have also learned that although each individual is unique, many "Floridians" share a common trait that has transformed into a major pet peeve, for me personally. I am talking about people who park in handicap parking spaces, who are not eligible to be doing so. "Floridians" typically have a bad reputation for driving, but what happens once the vehicle has stopped is another issue I deal with firsthand, and on a fairly regular basis.
The reason why people decide to park in these specially reserved spots is mainly due to their own convenience, however, most people do not realize that what while parking in these spots is only a luxury for them, it is a necessity for people with limited mobility and physical ability. In other words, these people are not "bad" people for trying to make their own lives easier, they simply just need to learn to understand the consequences - that something as small as parking - could have on others, as well as themselves.
So with all of this said, we must first learn who is allowed to park in a handicap parking space.You are ONLY eligible if you have legal proof [documentation from your physician stating your physical impairment(s)] AND you have a disabled parking placard. If your vehicle has a placard inside, but it is not your placard, you are not allowed to use it without the presence of the person it belongs to.
Did you know? It is ILLEGAL to park in a handicap parking space if the guidelines listed above are not met!
Now that we know how one may be subject to suffering the consequences of improper use, we can discuss said consequences. Illegal parking in a handicap parking space can result in a towed vehicle, a monetary fine [up to $1000 in the State of Florida] and up to six months in jail [also in the State of Florida]. Although this also happens [more than we even realize] it is also illegal to obtain or supply anyone with a fake placard, and it is also illegal for a doctor to give false information, regarding a patients medical condition, or for someone to pose as a doctor and falsify information, just so someone can obtain a placard. Lastly, just because a person is granted a placard does not always mean they are able to use it for the rest of their life. For example, if a person is injured, although they can apply, and will most likely be granted a placard, they will only be able to use it until they have completely recovered. Once a person has made a full recovery and can resume life as they know it, there is no longer a need for them to park in a handicap parking space.
Did you know? People have actually Googled "fake handicap placard" and have successfully found and obtained the exact results they were looking for!
For those of you, like me, who get annoyed by the sight of a seemingly able-bodied person using a handicap parking space, it is important to keep these things in mind: The first thing to notice would be if the person has a handicap parking placard in their vehicle. If they DO, you be aware that there are certain conditions, illnesses, etc., that are not visible to the naked eye, but may still require a person to need to use the handicap parking. However, If you suspect that the person is a fraud, follow these DO's and DO NOT's:
- DO: The most you really can do is anonymously report it to authorities or to business in which the situation is taking place-then let them handle it.
- DO NOT: Take it upon yourself to call out said person or put notes with nasty messages on the other persons vehicle, In other words, "never judge a book by its cover."
I hope you all found this information interesting and useful, and for people who have a habit of parking in a handicap parking space without the need to do so, please be considerate of those who will actually benefit from the spot, as well as aware, for your own sake, of the consequences you can face if you are caught parking illegally.