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Handicap Parking Violators: There’s an App for That

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People can be inconsiderate jerks.

The tendency (which I’m sure we’re all guilty of) is to instinctively believe that, “I am the center of the universe.”


But there are some lines you should not cross. No matter how big of hurry you are in, how important your inflated ego presumes you to be, if you are able-bodied–you should not be parking in a handicap spot.

Despite this code of conduct which should be obvious to motorists, past research by Cope and Allred shows that inappropriate use of handicapped parking spaces occurs frequently, with consistent reports indicating the majority of cars parked in these reserved spaces are parked there illegally.

Now, there’s an app for that.


Parking Mobility” is a new app that allows users to take snapshots of cars parked in handicapped designated areas illegally, then forwards it to the local law enforcement agency. As an incentive, a portion of the fine the government issues benefits a charity to help raise awareness of the 20 percent of Americans who  rely on accessible parking spaces.

Punitive legal action is difficult to enforce due to the lack of enforcement officers available. This is frustrating for most citizens who want to help curb that sort of behavior which impacts the lives of individuals with disabilities so negatively.

These days, with everyone wielding smart phones which allow high resolution photos (or evidence in this case) to be taken on the go, the creation of this app is a victory for the disabled community and their allies to help bring about personal paradigm changes of people in society that it is not okay to just ignore the needs of other people.

Over two decades ago, the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed. With the help of the Parking Mobility app, the next few years, average citizens will be able to have a hand in enforcement and thus a deterrence of ADA violations.


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About Andrew Golden

Andrew Golden is a public relations associate for The Mobility Resource, an online adaptive driving marketplace. A graduate of The University of Akron, he holds degrees in public relations and political science and is an alumni member of Alpha Sigma Phi. In his free time, he serves as a forensics coach for high school and college level programs. He resides in Akron, Ohio where he volunteers most of his time to local charities. Say hi to him on twitter @SweetMobility.

27 Responses

  1. avatar Matthew says:

    I love this app. I recently went to dmv and got disabled plates because I was tired of hanging up the placard everytime i parked. I forgot to put it up several times and was wondering if someone sent pictures to the app of my truck what would happen? Would I still receive a ticket because I forgot to hang my placard?


  2. avatar balloonpilot says:

    Whenever I come across one of these inconsiderate morons, I park in a way which makes it impossible for the person to leave and I call the police and wait for an officer.

    • That is a very pro-active way to go about it. However, my main concern would be your personal safety. If a violator had a bad temper and you were blocking him/her in? That could be dangerous.

      I for one love the idea of an app which would cut down on the time that a parking violator could possibly take action against you.

    • avatar irishkay says:

      I love that but aren’t you afraid of being attacked?

  3. avatar Denise says:

    I see people all the time who have handicap plates/placards and use the handicap spots even when the disabled family member is not with them. Is this legal? It certainly doesn’t seem ethical. (I realize that not all disabilites are obvious but in some cases I know the families.)

    • avatar Jan says:

      Please be aware there are many invisible conditions that make people look OK on the outside, but limit one’s ability to walk great distances – heart diseases, MS, Arthritis, etc. Please don’t judge the user of the placard unless you know for sure they have no medical condition!

      • I agree with Jan concerning ‘invisible conditions’. I for one had to try to keep myself from jumping to conclusions, assumptions, or judgements once I started to realize that.

        In the situation of an able-bodied individual using a placard – I’m not sure of the legality. I imagine it would be difficult to enforce (which seems to be the issue with parking enforcement as is).

        Ethically, of course, it is unacceptable if that is the case.

        Remember, if something is illegal, but there is no enforcement, it might as well be legal.

        • avatar Mary says:

          I don’t know about other states, but in NJ when I got my “hang tag,” it came with a card that looked exactly like my car registration. Same info, name, addy, and a numerical identifier that matched the ID # on the placard. Also came witha stern warning that I had to keep the card on me at all times, just like the car reg. And a warning that if I allowed anyone else to take advantage of my placard, it would be revoked, and I could never have one ever again! It also needs to be renewed every few years. I have never been asked to produce my documents, but am prepared to do so.

          Theoretically, if a police officer checks, and the handicapped person is not in the car, he can confiscate the placard on the spot. Probably not gonna happen in Jersey City, we regularly find police cars parked in handicapped spaces, and I nearly got arrested one night when I tried to explain to a cop that he couldn’t park his personal vehicle in the blue striped zone (wheelchair access aisle in NJ). I had a printout fron the NJ DMV detailing the rules & regs, and he accused me of having invented my own rules & faking the pamphlet. I think it was Goethe who said, “Against stupidity, the gods themselves labor in vain.”

        • avatar Audry Farber says:

          Do you mean to say, unless there are men with guns forcing us not to harm others, we’re going to run amok?

          I’m not going to.

          I know it’s wrong to use force against peaceful people. Why do I need a law?

    • avatar irishkay says:

      no you have to have the person who is handicapped with you. I work at an upscale store and one of my (favorite) customers bought something she needed help with getting outside. When I went out with her she was parked in the handicaped spot. (her mothers card) She knows I have a handicaped daughter and gave me the old “I was only going to be in the store for a moment”. Being on the clock I could say nothing but I don’t hide my feelings well—I don’t think she’ll ever do it again. I did explain–especially in the winter trying to drag a heavy wheel chair through wet snow–is a back breaking thing to do—-IF I CAN’T FIND A SPOT THAT WE LEGALLY ARE PERMITED TO USE.

  4. avatar Jan says:

    I checked the comments on the app itself. Not very good reviews from the people-taking-action side of things. Suspect is whether current laws will enforce the reported events.

    • I would have to imagine that the process of working with local enforcement agencies and cities governments would be a very slow moving one. I really hope that this app takes off and that local governments get behind it as a way to help the community.

      But, as with most government operations, there is bound to be a lot of red tape.

  5. avatar Chris Marsh says:

    I need one of those, the handicapped parking app

  6. [...] people who walk, but have grave problems in walking, they can’t trek the length of a parking lot to get to and from their [...]

  7. [...] you’ve said any of these, don’t feel bad (unless you’ve stolen a handicap parking spot!) We aren’t angry or offended, but we want people to understand. We aren’t inspiring [...]

  8. avatar Mariana says:

    Would this app work in Canada?

  9. I have a handicap tag on my car (not a temporary placard) but some days are better than others and I can park further away and leave a spot open for someone else. But I’ve been yelled at by non-handicapped folks for taking up *their* spots when I should be parking in the handicapped! LOL

  10. [...] This isn’t another plea for able-bodied drivers to respect the reasons these spots exist. I don’t really care at the moment that they are ignorant of the safety issues involved for many wheelchair users, drivers or passengers. I don’t even care about reporting violators or that there’s an app for that. [...]

  11. [...] Handicap Parking Violators: There’s an App for That [...]

  12. avatar Eva says:

    When I tried to use this app the local authorities told me that they can’t ticket a car, they ticket the driver. Without knowing who was driving the car, they wouldn’t issue a ticket. I asked why they couldn’t ticket the owner of the car and they just said it was state law to ticket the driver. Luckily we have a great volunteer group in my city that if you call them will send someone out, if available, and ticket them.

  13. [...] Handicap Parking Violators: There’s an App for That [...]

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