Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Should people who steal handicap parking spots be shamed on Facebook?
Park in a spot in New Zealand reserved for the disabled without displaying the permit and you risk being shamed on the Facebook page You've Got My Car Park, Want My Disability Too? So far, contributors have posted 100 photos of vehicles without proper redentials—license plates visible and in some cases the drivers as well. Started by a disgruntled wheelchair user who, reportedly, was late for a job interview because a non-permitted car was in the handicap spot, the page has been racking up Likes.
The problem is rampant here too. Last holiday season, Illinois cracked down on on people illegally parked in disability spots at malls; police handed out 166 citations and raked in $71,250 in fines. In January, New Jersey enacted a bill to prevent the misuse of disability vehicle ID cards and placards. Washington state and municipalities around the country have had similar crackdowns.
I'd like to see more of these ethics-deprived people get fined—hit 'em where it really hurts, their wallets. An app called Parking Mobility allows people to snap photos of a vehicle parked in a handicap spot without a proper plate or decal, and zap it to city officials to issue a ticket. First, however, your city needs to get with the program.
This is all easy for me to say because I'm not the victim here, nor do I deal with this situation with Max. I get how satisfying it could feel to out people who disrespect disability. There have been times when I've been tempted to snap iPhone pictures of people who openly gawk or glare at Max and post them on Facebook.
So far, a few offenders listed on that Facebook page have apologized, though most probably have no clue they've been exposed. It seems like the best possible result of this effort is that it will raise media and public awareness, forcing authorities to pay more attention to the problem and getting people to think twice about swiping these spots (excellent video, below).
What do you think about Facebook shaming people who park in spots for people with disabilities?
Image: Flickr/Sam Felder