In Your Corner: Handicap Parking Dispute

By Ryan Elijah

June 18, 2010 Updated Aug 7, 2009 at 7:55 AM EDT

Destiny Torres has lived at this home for over four years. Everything was fine until two months ago new neighbors started parking their cars in front of her home, forcing her to walk from down the street with her 11-year old autistic son.
Destiny Torres "He has seizures and he's fallen down while having a seizure, he trips a lot
Destiny approached the neighbors about not parking in front of her home due to her son, Christopher's condition, but was told that wouldn't be possible. As the problem continued she contacted the city's traffic and engineering department, they agreed to install these signs designating this space in front of her home as handicapped parking.
The city came out and put up the handicap signs a little over two weeks ago and they are registered in Christopher's name, but they also told Destiny that if he moves from the house, the signs would have to come down.
While Destiny was thrilled with the city's quick reaction, it didn't solve her problem, a short time later, her neighbors car was back in the same spot with it's own handicap plate
"i was appalled"
She knew the car had a legal handicap plate, but that the owner was deceased. When police were called they told her anyone with a handicap plate or placard could use the spot in front of her house, even though the signs were put up because of her son. The issue prompted us to take a closer look at the regulation of handicap parking privileges. According to the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles if someone inherits a car with a handicap plate they have 31 days to get a new title and registration, but they add they can't serve as the enforcement agency, that's up to local law enforcement. The BMV says they have to balance the legitimate needs of handicapped individuals and possible abuse.
Dennis Rosebrough/BMV "is there abuse, sure, does that mean we should not do the program, no. We weigh in in favor of serving the citizens that need the privileges, knowing full well that there might be some cases of abuse.
Meanwhile, Destiny now leaves her Mother's car parked in the spot while she's away to protect her space. She says she never uses her handicap privileges without her son and feels the entire controversy could have been avoided with similar respect
"have respect for your neighbors, have respect for those who are disabled. It's a shame and I did it to protect my son", Destiny Torres said.
The misuse of a handicap privilege is considered a misdemeanor, usually resulting in fines or the loss of the parking privilege
There is a website that deals with reporting handicap fraud, it's www.handicappedfraud.org




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