Crime Watch

Crime Watch: Disabled-parking permits should be changed to make enforcement easier

 

Special to The Miami Herald

I received some interesting letters from readers regarding last week’s column on disabled parking permits. Here’s a sampling of what they had to say.

Hello, Carmen:

I read your article in the Miami Herald and wanted you to be aware of the nearly unenforceable reality of disabled-placard abuse, which in my opinion is due to it's impractical design. In order for a police or parking officer to confirm that a vehicle in a designated disabled-parking spot displaying a placard is unlawfully there, the officer would literally have to exit their cruiser, don reading glasses if applicable, shine the placard with a flashlight (if at night), write down the small print driver’s license number at the bottom of the placard, return to their cruiser, log on their laptop computer (which to my knowledge parking officers are not equipped with) and display not only the name but most important, the photograph of the legal recipient of the placard (same as the driver's license photo), then they could confirm the presence of the placard's legal owner.

Parking officers are not given this laptop technology, which are the most likely to encounter this violation. The most flagrant culprits and violators of this placard abuse are not so much drivers who boldly park there without a placard, but able-bodied family members who borrow the placard.

A solution: If the placard already displayed a 2-by-2-inch photo, then it would facilitate officers' immediate visual acknowledgment of the presence of the placard's legal owner. It's evident to me that during it's conceptual design, neither police nor parking departments were consulted in this regard.

Ray Carpio, Miami Beach

Dear Carmen:

My husband (who has a permanently disabled permit) and I appreciated your article in today's Herald. It is good that the state Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles provides a telephone number to report abuse. Wouldn't it be even more wonderful to have an email address or website to do so?

Most experiences with telephone numbers include a lot of expended time to accomplish a goal. A month ago, for instance, it took me more than an hour to report street lights that were out (and had been for at least a month) by Dadeland Metrorail! Also, in this way, photos of the car or driver in question could be submitted. Could this angle be worked on? By the way, it would not only be user friendly, it should also be in the best interest of government time/money.

Rose Anne

Carmen Caldwell is executive director of Citizens’ Crime Watch of Miami-Dade. Send feedback and news for this column to carmen@citizenscrimewatch.org, or call her at 305-470-1670.

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