Vehicle: Car: Parking: Reservation
Handicap Parking   (+1)  [vote for, against]
Captures license plates of offending vehicles

I don't know about you, but I just hate it when I see a vehicle parked in a handicap spot(without any tags) and see a person without any disability get out and have a few steps to the building.

This idea involves installing a small camera in the "Handicap Parking only" sign with a sensor in the parking space triggering this camera to take a picture of the vehicle's license plate. On a monthly basis, the license plates can be cross referenced with the handicap registry and see if a vehicle is actually allowed to park in this space. To the offending vehicle, a ticket will be issued and hopefully a lesson will be learned.
-- v0rtexx, Dec 31 2003

totally agree [vortexx]. Abled drivers parking in disabled spots are selfish, uncaring idiots. It should be a criminal offence. + to you.
-- jonthegeologist, Dec 31 2003

How about a crack squad of eight Reliant Robin three wheelers which zoom up to cars parked illegally in disabled spaces, and reverse upto them from all angles.

This way, they'll create a petal-like work of public art, while blocking the offender into the disabled space. The 'installation' should be exhibited for at least a week.
-- Fishrat, Dec 31 2003

I will take the opposite side: I am tired of seeing a rank of unoccupied parking spaces in an otherwise full parking lot, all placed off limits by that "Handicap Only" sign, when the parking lot itself is some place the physically disabled are unlikely to ever visit in quantity. (If you can navigate a ski slope, for example, I really don't think you need much help navigating a parking lot.)

We're trying to make life easier for the handicapped, which is a worthy cause, but not one to make a federal case out of.
-- DrCurry, Dec 31 2003

//If you can navigate a ski slope, for example, I really don't think you need much help navigating a parking lot//

No, but you may need extra space around your car in order to get in and out of it.
-- Fishrat, Dec 31 2003

In Virginia there's no requirement for a special license plate. Handicapped people my be issued a hanging tag for their rearview mirror if the handicap is temporary or if they don't own their own car. Your solution would target these people unjustly.
-- phoenix, Dec 31 2003

I thought those spots were for handicapped *vehicles*! That's why I parked my 1979 Oldsmobile with 3 tires and no bumpers in there. My bad.
-- phundug, Dec 31 2003

ok so it goes done like this. we say we put cameras like this on handi-capped spaces and we make it public knowledge that if you park your car there something will happen (Big hammer will come out of the gorund and smash your car, get arrested, eaten by wild moose, etc.) and we fabricate a few incidenses where this happens to people and they sue or make a big stink but they still loose and have to pay the fine, have their car smashed or are eaten by the wild moose, etc. However we nevery actually install any of this but people think we do. so now the populace is far to afraid to park in handicapped spaces, the handicapped still get their spaces, and the prevailing govt doesnt pay a dime, at least for the handi-capped parking thing they dont.
-- Space-Pope, Dec 31 2003

Where I grew up, the parking ticket witch would write you a very large ticket if you parked in a handicapped spot. That was a tourist town in washington state, so parking was a real bugger during the summer. I have to admit, I have never seen a disabled parking spot at any of the ski slopes I have been at, but I have seen many disabled skiers. I do know of a case where some scumbag lawyer decided to sue several surf shops for inadequate handicapped access, go figure. I do wholeheartedly support some form of revenge on people who take advantage of the handicapped
-- austere_apathy, Dec 31 2003

Aw bullshit.
vOrtexx is on the right track. If it is going to take a fellow human being any more that twice as long to get into a store from the handicap stall as it's going to take me from the far end of the parking lot then there should bloody well be a stall for them to do so. I would expect no less were I in their shoes.
Do unto others people. (+)
-- 2 fries shy of a happy meal, Jan 01 2004

I recently noticed that UK traffic wardens have been issued with digital cameras to collect evidence. Fear not, I have alerted all of our local reputable muggers.

By the by, I thought the word "handicap" was out of mode, since it refers originally to "eastend cripples begging cap in hand" because they couldn't work, and implies a lack of worth.
-- Fishrat, Jan 01 2004

Woah, mixed crowd on this subject.

I feel strongly for this idea however. People with disabilities deserve the right for these parking spaces. They do not choose to be disabled and we should give them the respect they deserve.

//In Virginia there's no requirement for a special license plate.//

There is no need for "special license plates". The "Normal" license plates are already registered in the registry.

There are currently millions of dollars going into research for disabilities, and where has that gotten us? Not very far. This idea could actually help add to research if a percentage of the revenue collected went into different areas of research.
-- v0rtexx, Jan 01 2004

[humanbean] It's a false assumption the disabled people see themselves as 'broken' people who need to be 'fixed'. Some deaf people see deafness as a cultural issue rather than a pure disability issue and will not refer to themselves as disabled.

[Fishrat] The use of the word handicap is a cultural thing. It's considered okay for use in the US but less so in the UK. Disabled People is the UK term in general use.
-- oneoffdave, Jan 01 2004

[DrCurry] I have a little sympathy with your argument that there are often a large number of disabled parking spaces - I would be all for a proportionate number and am often a little frustrated to see enormous numbers of dedicated parking spaces (at supermarkets for example) that could never be filled.

However, we cannot deny access to anyone, morally, ethically or legally.
-- jonthegeologist, Jan 01 2004

It doesn't matter whether or not the ADA money would be better spent on a cure. Money, while helpful, does not guarantee a cure, and you cannot overlook the fact that there *are* disabled people today who *need* to have reserved spaces *today*, so they can be as productive as possible with what we have now, wheelchairs.

Take, for example, a supermarket. For a disabled individual to disembark his/her lift van in a wheelchair to go shopping for food (a basic human need, if I say so myself) would require the individual to park in the back of the parking lot, to have an adjacent space to operate a wheelchair lift. Then, they have to navigate a parking lot in a chair that *significantly impairs their visibility* to other cars bounding through the lot, especially in tall SUV-like vehicles. And, even if they managed that, there is no guarantee the parking space adjacent to their vehicle will still be there when they return.

The feeling of independence, to not need a babysitter to shop for them, cook for them, etc. Is *very important* to a disabled individual.

The ADA, and its requirements, was a guarantee that those who were disabled could lead as normal and independent life as possible. It was not 'throwing them a bone'. And while you could ask a disabled person if they would rather have a cure, and they would most certainly say yes, it doesn't mean money can automagically engineer a cure for them. To say otherwise is ridiculous.

And, in conclusion, I enthusiastically administer a croissant to this idea, because it makes me furious to think that inconsiderate asses are out there, taking spaces reserved for people who need them, just so they don't have to walk from the farthest depths of the parking lot when they are capable of doing so.
-- Baker^-1, Jan 01 2004

Can't vote for this. I certainly agree that the problem exists and that something needs to be done, but I don't think this is the solution.

This not only seems prone to vandalism, but the additional expense of installing and maintaining these camera systems just might deter lot owners from installing handicapped spaces at all, or certainly in fewer numbers than they would otherwise. Certainly no more than the absolute minimum required by the laws of their jurisdiction (which in light of the additional expense, would probably be lowered to accommodate).

It could actually work against the intended outcome, so I can't support this.
-- waugsqueke, Jan 01 2004

A discrete camera in a metal box, on a pole, exactly like the ones already in parking lots, is prone to more vandalism then its counterparts?

Perhaps a different solution is in order. The meter maid with a digital camera is probably the cheapest.
-- Baker^-1, Jan 01 2004

The author suggests putting the camera in the "Handicapped Parking" sign itself. That would be more prone to vandalism than the sort of parking lot cameras in use commonly, I believe.

I really think the additional expense is the idea killer though. It comes from this camera installation in combination with some sort of sensor in the lot space (likely an induction wire approach would be the cheapest route), to trigger the camera to take an image. All combined with a hook-in to some sort of national database of license plate numbers.
-- waugsqueke, Jan 01 2004

Some states don't require a front plate. The idea would be best revised as a camera that viewed from the back, but the general principle is a camera-based system.
-- Baker^-1, Jan 01 2004

You'd need both views, otherwise one could thwart the system by backing into the space.
-- waugsqueke, Jan 01 2004

Why not put the special parking places in the furthest spaces away from the store? This would certainly stop people not supposed to park in them from using them.
-- telemann, Jan 01 2004

//In Virginia there's no requirement for a special license plate.//
"There is no need for "special license plates". The "Normal" license plates are already registered in the registry."
You're missing the point. It's entirely possible for a handicapped person to borrow a neighbor's or relative's vehicle. That person's license plate would not be in your registry.
-- phoenix, Jan 01 2004

I initially invisioned these camera to be somewhat hidden and very small. One cost effective measure you could use would be to have all "Handicap parking only" signs stating that this parking space *may* be monitored and punishable by fine if it so calls for it. This way you could place the actual camera-signs in different locations while still deterring all "able" drivers with the threat that it *may* be monitored. Thus saving installation/maintenence fees.

This would also make people less likely to vandalize a sign as they would anything else. There would be no true benefit for doing so.

//You're missing the point. It's entirely possible for a handicapped person to borrow a neighbor's or relative's vehicle. That person's license plate would not be in your registry.//
Possible, but not very likely. Most, if not all disabled people know that their "handicap tags" correspond with their vehicle and their vehicle only. There are disclaimers on the tags themselves stating so, so this should not be a problem.
-- v0rtexx, Jan 02 2004

" this should not be a problem."
Because it's outside your experience?
-- phoenix, Jan 02 2004

//The "Normal" license plates are already registered in the registry. //

So if I want to drive my grandmother (who, due to circulatory problems and mental slowness caused by renal failure, walks and reacts too slowly to be able to safely cross a lane of traffic) to a restaurant to eat with me, I can't park in the handicap space? Well, grandma didn't let me drive her car, she must deserve to be run over.

And some states charge money for the handicap tag or license plate. My uncle (who's in a wheel chair due to a broken back) has gotten tickets for parking in a handicapped space, because he couldn't afford the $20 to register with the state (because jobs are difficult to find for people who can't walk).

I agree that the parking space system should be improved. But not the way proposed in this idea.
-- lyrl, Jan 02 2004

ok. here's an idea. Instead of punishing those that do park illegally in such parking spaces, only enable those who have a right to park there to actually park.

In many French towns, certain residential roads are blocked off at either end via a bollard. On swiping a residents card, this bollard sinks or lies flat allowing the car to pass.

Extend this idea to these parking spots : put a bollard in the middle of the space rendering it useless. Those certified disabled will have a card of somekind, or possibly an activated ID card for those countries that have these. They can activate/deactivate the spot but no one else can.
-- jonthegeologist, Jan 02 2004

I still favor economic incentives for soft things like this. Make the "convenient" parking spaces 5 or 10 times as much as the inconvenient ones, unless you're handicapped. (I do take the exception that some parking spaces do provide extra space for the disabled to get in and out of the car, and I'm happy for those to remain off limits to the regularly abled, but those - the extra wide parking spaces - are few and far between in the parking lots I frequent.)
-- DrCurry, Jan 02 2004

Instead of taking a picture of the offending licence plate, why not just take the offending licence plate off the car and deposit it in the nearest garbage can. Let them explain it to the police officer who stops them for driving without licence plates on their vehicle!
-- happyone, Jan 02 2004

Parking control officers already take care of this problem in Canada.Some parking lots also have designated spaces for new and expectant mothers.
-- python, Jan 03 2004

I have wanted something like jonthegeologist has suggested. I have thought of tyre spikes as well though.

Just today I had to go to the Doctor and there is only one disabled park there. A car was illegally parked and as I am disabled and it was critical that I did not walk any further than the disabled park (oh and it felt sooo good) I parked behind the car so it was impossible for it to leave.

I asked at the reception if this was OK and the receptionist thought it was a great idea. I explained I would move my car as soon as I was asked to. 90 minutes later I was finally informed that the owner of the car (obviously a fitness freak as I had a good look at her) finally needed to move.

Not the first time I have done this and it wont be my last. Oh and for the record I am more than willing to key the side of any car illegally parked. The nice shiny new ones are best.
-- stupidkiwi, Jan 04 2004

i wish I had the nerve to do this. Good on you [stupidkiwi] and [the_disabled_fella_that_unabubba_saw_disabling_a_car]
-- jonthegeologist, Jan 04 2004

The one that annoys me even more - and which none of the proposed technology solutions will address - is when some perfectly able-bodied person parks in a handicap spot using a tag "borrowed" from a disabled friend or relative. I recently watched a youg couple park in the last disabled slot at Costco - I know it wasn't their tag because the name and DOB on the tag indicated it belonged to a 50 yr old woman. I left a note on the windscreen which read, simply, "Why are you not ashamed of yourself?"

BTW, I recently saw a disabled person park in one of our slots. I told him he couldn't park there, he had to park in the disabled slots.
-- czarlet, Apr 19 2004

A friend of mine said not too long ago, "Handicapped parking spaces are entrapment." I'm totally in agreement!
-- kranedawg, Apr 19 2004

If you want to come up with a good idea how about start with vetting people who have handicapped plates. Perhaps develop a body scanner (like on Star Trek). If people attain a certain score from the scanner they can get the plates, if they don't they're screwed like the rest of us.

Handicapped parking needs to be revisited and reformed. Once upon a time the parking used to be for more severly handicapped people (e.g. in wheel chairs, walkers, or have prosthetic limbs). But nowadays anybody with a *minor* back or knee problem can get handicapped plates. You can even get them if your just really overweight. All you need is a note from your doctor.

Also, I don't understand the reasoning of having handicapped parking at a large mall or megastore: one needs to park close so they can walk around a huge mall or store. Where's the logic in that?

I stood outside the mall one day and watched people who parked in the handicapped spots get out of their cars. Most looked fairly young and none even displayed a limp. I didn't see any lift vans or old/infirmed people with walkers. I

I personally think there are too many of the damn spots and they've become an entitlement for people who know how to work the system. I think the spots should be for people who truly need them - people who are actually physically disabled. And there should be less of the spots to begin with.
-- voiceofreason, Apr 20 2004

Surf shops sell clothing, sunglasses, and surfing gear, among other doodads. Is there some reason a disabled person wouldn't needor want to buy any of those things? Do they not have relatives or friends who might want a surfboard? So surfshops should be exempt? At least you could argue that a ski resort is a bit remote... Of course people have been known to accompany their skiing friends and relatives to resorts and spend most of the time in the lodge. But of course the disabled wouldn't want to? Some disabled people have successfully skied and climbed mountains (hand over hand) , despite using wheelchairs.

There are reasons why disabled spaces are supposed to be close to the shops. One is to keep them from being hit in the parking lot trying to find a ramp, and the other one is that many lack strength to travel very far.

In a shopping center, there are supposed to be designated spaces distributed around so that people can be near the shop they want to go to.

Federal cases, or other kinds of cases, are probably not the *best* way to solve these problems, but the Federal government didn't want to pay for a bureau to enforce it, and they didn't want to "over-enforce". They require accessible features in new construction, and they left older buildings to a vague and unworkable (at least in litigation) standard called "readily achievable", which means, if you can afford it, in shorthand, you have to remodel or restripe, or whatever it takes. The problem is, how can your average wheelchair user tell if somebody can afford it before they decide to sue, or what the fixed will cost?

Does your average defendant prefer to risk spending thousands on litigation or making changes. Surprisingly they usually prefer to wait and see if they get raped like a veal cow than spend money for certain.

Congress wanted to avoid forcing changes that weren't actually needed, because there was no demand, and also to avoid spending "hard" taxed dollars on things other than their cushy office building and trips to Europe, so they left business owners to pay for the administration costs, by paying lawyers fees and so forth.

Its not an ideal world., but hopefully businesses will figure out that its cheaper to fix than to be sued later.


a "scumbag" lawyer, as you affectionately put it.


PS: the number of people using the disabled placards will only skyrocket as the baby boomers continue aging. Expect some real turf wars.
-- latheg, Jun 04 2004

Idea focus shift.....

A system like golf uses for rating the parking ability of a person - your handicap is applied to your score.

"The crowd is very quiet......She backs it up slowly....And on the green in one !"
-- normzone, Jun 04 2004

random, halfbakery