Missouri Takes Steps to Enforce Disabled Parking Laws!
Posted on April 11, 2012 by Kimberly Lackey
Attorney General Chris Koster has made education and enforcement of disabled parking laws a high priority as part of his Accessibility Initiative (link to facebook page) In early February, he organized a targeted enforcement effort in the Kansas City area to bring public awareness to this important issue. During that operation police issued 108 citations, 80 tickets and 28 warnings.
Koster said officers from the participating law enforcement agencies patrolled shopping areas looking for vehicles that were illegally parked in accessible parking spaces. The operation was designed not only to enforce the law, but also to educate people on Missouri laws regarding accessible parking spaces.
After the success of the Kansas City operation Attorney General Chris Koster coordinated a similar effort in St. Louis that took place on March 31st. St. Louis County Police patrolled shoppers at South County Mall and surrounding area and within 5 hours they issued a total of 67 tickets.
It is clear from these outcomes that violations of accessible parking laws are widespread throughout Missouri. Under Missouri law, it is illegal:
- to park in an accessible parking space without an authorized license plate or hangtag;
- to use a license plate or hangtag issued to someone not in the car; and
- to park in the striped aisles next to an accessible space.
If you are caught violating these laws you could face fines up to $300.
These laws are extremely important to individuals with disabilities who benefit from them. Some folks have conditions such as severe arthritis or heart conditions that make it medically necessary for them to park near the entrance of a building. In addition, the access aisles adjacent to the accessible parking spaces also serve an important role by providing the necessary space to deploy a lift or maneuvering space to transfer to a wheelchair. These laws help provide equal access to goods and services for individuals with disabilities and should be enforced.
There are also certain requirements individuals with disabilities utilizing accessible parking spaces should follow. The driver, or any occupant, of a motor vehicle with disabled license plates or a disabled placard must upon request from any law enforcement officer show the disabled registration certificate issued to the disabled person or entity. In addition, individuals should only display the hanging placard while the vehicle is parked in a disabled parking space, not while driving the vehicle. People with disabled plates or placards are also responsible for keeping them current and for relinquishing the disabled plates or placards when the persona with a disability has passed away.
Hopefully with more education and awareness on this topic and cooperation of police officers, the general public, and individuals with disabilities, enforcement operations like the ones in Kansas City and St. Louis will result in far fewer violations.