DOL welcomes public comment on the Disability Parking Study

dis-1The Legislature asked the Department of Licensing to create a workgroup to examine the use of disabled parking placards and special license plates for persons with disabilities, and develop a strategic plan for ending any abuse.

The workgroup is made up of representatives from DOL, Department of Health, City of Seattle, Governor’s Committee on Disability Issues and Employment, and Arc of Washington.

The workgroup has been meeting since June to research and review data to determine where potential abuse may be, develop measures to reduce fraudulent use and issuance, and suggest ways to strengthen administrative processes, while minimizing the impact to individuals who really need these privileges.

The deadline for public comments is October 15, 2013.

The workgroup will report its findings—and a strategic plan on ideas to potentially reduce abuse—to the Legislature by December 1, 2013.

The public may share ideas with the workgroup by sending an email to:


44 Responses to DOL welcomes public comment on the Disability Parking Study

  1. Justin says:

    As a Parking Enforcement Officer, we see abuse more than most of the individuals posting in here. Most of the time it is someone using a disabled relative’s vehicle. Sometimes the disabled individual feels like because they were given more than one placard, they’d let a friend use the other one. Sometimes people are using long expired placards because they don’t understand that a permanent disability does not grant you a placard that doesn’t expire (At least not in WA.) Sometimes people photocopy, doctor expired placards or in some cases steal placards from people. The only way we can combat this is to ask for the Disabled ID card that is issued with the placard AND a photo ID in order to verify the individual. To streamline the operation, a photo on the Disabled ID would make things far easier.

  2. Dick J. @ Normandy Park says:

    Watch your tongue about motorcycles and disability. I have had terrible back and knee surgeries over last 10 years and cannot walk more than a very short distance (with cane). The disability license plate embarrassed me but I am just as deserving as a paraplegic. I have been disabled for 10 years. Three days ago a couple smashed in my taillights and left a nasty note on my bike to leave the space to those with cars who need it. I even need occasional assistance getting on the bike but once there I am a responsible citizen and deserve courtesy….even from ignorant and immortal souls. A smaller decal on my windshield would be helpful as placards can be taken from cycle. (I have a reduced copy of my blue placard I stick into the vent on my windshield.) P.S. My bike cost $27,000 new so i am not a biker bum…also do camping…so wake up public, we are not all abusers..

    • Jan says:

      I don’t think anyone called you an abuser…it may be an issue you need to deal with yourself. And, I don’t care how much your bike cost if it is blocking my ramp so I’m trapped in the car. It is common sense that your bike has a much smaller footprint than a car or van, so make sure you park 8 ft. from the access. If not, you shouldn’t be surprised that people won’t hesitate to damage your bike. I have been a paraplegic from polio for 58 yrs. and my son has cerebral palsy. If you can’t get on and off of your vehicle by yourself, you need to get something with more support….like a car.

  3. Robin Stewart says:

    I question the 4X4 truck that has a step 4 foot off the ground, where is the mobility issue? I drive a van w/ramp so my wife can access transportaion, why do small cars and large trucks get to monopolize van accessable spots? Vans with ramps require 8 feet to extend the ramp and load/ unload, many of these spots are less than 6 feet wide. When spots are not available I will have to block the road to unload/load and park where I can.

    • annefey says:

      I’ve had to resort to carrying an orange traffic cone in my van and find two spots, then put the cone in the spot next to mine. So far no one’s taken my cone but I hate having to do that. I agree with you about the large trucks and small cars.

  4. Ezequiel says:

    Hurrah! Finally I got a website from where I know how to truly take
    valuable information concerning my study and knowledge.

  5. Anne Fey says:

    I am a paraplegic with a ramp van and I am having a harder and harder time finding a space with a lined-out area for my ramp. I think ALL Disabled Parking spaces should have the lined-out area next to it. So many people park in these spaces that don’t need that area. It’s maddening because that’s the ONLY place I CAN park. Seems like a reasonable solution.

    I lead a group of 80 women who use wheelchairs for mobility, and many of our members face the same problem.

    And who said motorcycles can park in those lined-out areas!?! I can’t even count the number of times that happens.

  6. […] Washington Legislature has directed the Department of Licensing (DOL) to set up a workgroup to study the issue. The workgroup has members from the DOL, Department of Health, City of Seattle, […]

  7. Margo says:

    I’d like to see a spot marked van only when there are multiple disabled spots and there are striped lines bordering a spot. I have a van and there is almost always a disabled car there so I have nowhere to park. It is very hard to park when you have a wheelchair and need to exit a vehicle through a ramp on the side.

    • Jan says:

      I wholeheartedly agree. I have been trapped in or out of my van because someone parked too closely even with a bright blue sign on my van door saying not to park within 8 ft. because there is a ramp.

  8. Maximilian says:

    The other day, while I was at work, my cousin stole my iPad and tested to see if
    it can survive a 25 foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation.
    My apple ipad is now broken and she has 83 views.

    I know this is entirely off topic but I had to share it with someone!

  9. Glroia J. Kouf says:

    You could put the driver’s license number on the placard along with the individual’s picture. There are some disabilities preventing a person from walking too far or fast, not easily identifiable, but hanging your picture in the window should suffice for any questionable individual’s use of the placard. I don’t use a plate so I can’t figure a way to verify that.

  10. Mary says:

    I have a sometimes “hidden” disability – MS. Every day is unpredictable; my mobility is compromised by my activity level and the heat. I walk with a cane for balance, but a lot of my friends are too proud to use a cane. We have disabled placards – AND we have the wallet cards that come with the placards the have our name as rightful owners of the placard. It’s incredibly easy for an official to simply as to see the identifying wallet card to make sure that person has the right to use a placard. If the person doesn’t have one, recording their drivers license is a simple way to check, and if they’re using grandma’s card, they get a citation in the mail. It’s just like someone going over the 520 bridge who gets cited. Or in a school zone. The only difference is the human contact and that perston (a cop, a parking lot attendant, a security guard) has to CARE.

  11. Susan says:

    It obviously is not an easy answer how to manage misuse or abuse of disabled parking spots. The Washington State Disabled Parking Application for individuals with disabilities is pretty straight forward on what constitutes a disability and only a doctor can determine and sign for approval. Hopefully doctors are trained on this appropriately. As a person with MS and someone who has a placard I try not to use it if I don’t need it. But often I cannot even find a disabled spot. I think there definitely needs to be more disabled parking spaces available. It is very hard to regulate people’s personal values which are in play when a non-disabled driver uses the vehicle, plate or placard of another person who is disabled without transporting that person; using it for their own gain. Obviously even though placards have expiration dates, they are not checked. The police do not have time to police disabled parking spots and who is using them. Although I would have no problem if one asked to see my proof- the card they give you with the placard. I have never seen anyone parked in a disabled parking spot without a placard or disabled license plate, however, some of these people look very able bodied, but who am I to decide if they are legitimate or not. Some times I am more able bodied than at other times. I don’t want to be judged and I have to be honest about whether I need the spot or not. Honesty or dishonesty is partly at the heart of this issue. But so is convenience which I think is why most people break the rules. Maybe more short-term parking spots could be made for able bodied people and more disabled parking spaces for those who need them with a sign that says the spots are being monitored. Kentucky did a study and it was very interesting. The website for that is And of course there is beefing up fines/penalties and increasing persons to check and enforce. All I know is that I am disabled and for all the people who are, parking needs to be convenient, close and plentiful for us. Renewals and proof of legitimacy need to be uncomplicated.

  12. Marianne says:

    The intent of the law is to make businesses accessible to the disabled. If the disabled person themselves are not going to be leaving the vehicle and a non-disabled person is “running into the store” for the disabled person then they are using the disability placard contrary to the intent of the law. They have utilized a parking spot for a disabled person who needs to access the business themselves. How would Jeff Sleep feel if he actually had to get out of the car himself to conduct business but the disabled parking spot was being utilized by someone who had a non-disabled person “running into the store” for them thus causing him to have to park in a regular parking spot farther out in the parking lot and walk or wheel into the store? The RCW needs to be re-written to be more specific in addressing this issue.

  13. Kim says:

    You know, Chris, I sure hope you don’t ever need to use a disabled parking permit. I would also think, in your line of work, you could look up permits you have doubts about. Come on up to my office, we’ll talk.

  14. Chris Marino says:

    Place SOME of the disability parking spots farther away from the front of stores. Many of the abusers are just lazy slobs looking for parking up front. Many folks with wheelchairs,scooters just need the wide space to get loaded and unloaded, and wouldn’t mind either pushing a chair, or riding the scooter a little farther. This wouldn’t solve the issue for folks with limited ambulation or endurance, who really need to be close to an entrance, but might help some.

    • Kim says:

      JEFF SLEEP, How do you know that towing and wrecking yards aren’t required to, and just because my car was in an accident, that doesn’t mean I’m dead and no longer need a parking permit…

      • Jeff Sleep says:

        Kim, I’ve seen parking placards, medicare cards and a variety of other personal documents in the wrecks at Pull N’
        Save. In the past 30 years I’ve seen a variety of family members cars wrecked. In every case the vehicle is allowed to retrieve personal property from the wreck. I’m suggesting that placards be removed from vehicles before selling at auction or sent to wrecking yards.

  15. Jeff Sleep says:

    Put a photo of the placard holder on the placard like the American Express Costco card does.

  16. Jeff Sleep says:

    Require that auto wrecking yards return placards that are left in wrecks to the state. Require towing companies return placards found in impounds as well. Places such as colleges that issue student parking permits provide campus disability permits so that students can’t use a parents placard.

  17. Gretchen says:

    I have a parking permit, and I park in regular parking places if there are some close enough for me to walk. My disability does not show, and I look like I might not have one, but my doctor agreed that it was necessary. I have had people give me a glare when I use it (which is as infrequently as possible, and I resent the fact that people who are not doctors presume to diagnose me without knowing my disability. I don’t know how to monitor who uses or abuses the permits, but would be willing to abide by whatever method is used, as I legitimately need my permit. I have not seen very many examples of abuse for the stickers in my area.

    • Jeff Sleep says:

      If you have a placard you have designated parking that non placard drivers cannot use. Just as placard abuse takes a parking spot from a disabled driver, not using designated spot takes a parking area from an abled driver. Think of the times in a small business lot where all but two or three disabled spots were empty. Designated parking is there for a purpose and is first come first serve. I don’t know your and shouldn’t judge your disability as you mine.

  18. Dan E says:

    The 20/20 Rule

    DOL should keep track of Doctor’s/Nurse Practitioners that give out DP licenses/placards. After twenty (20) are issued the Doctor/Nurse Practitioner from the same office would be flagged and a letter generated to them from DOL.

    The letter would request them to fill-out a form and return with their letterhead asking “What is the criteria you are using to issue the permits?” If there is no response within twenty (20) days all future requests will be denied from that particular Doctor’s office, unless they are an orthopedic surgeon-type office giving out temporary permits only. Henceforth the 20/20 Rule!

    D .

  19. Sheila says:

    I would like accurate data as to how much abuse there actually is. I do not know a single person that illegally uses disabled parking…. Nor do i see this happening in my area as far as i can tell. As others have pointed out some disabilities are invisible. Are we SURE there is a problem?

    • Laurie W says:

      I agree. I think the problem might be that there is not enough parking for the handicapped as those numbers are also increasing as the baby boomers are getting older, the population increases, etc. I think a better solution might be tax incentives for businesses to add more handicapped/accessible parking or fines for businesses that don’t provide adequate handicapped parking.

      For example, my handicapped mother goes to the hockey games at our local arena. If she wants to be able to park in the handicapped area, she has to get to the games 1 hour before they start as all the handicapped spots are taken if she is any later. However, the arena has a “special” parking area that they charge a premium price for. This is not “offered” to the disabled and it is very close to the doors, etc. I don’t see how a business should be able to deny handicapped people access to close parking for the sake of a profit while they are clearly not providing enough parking for the handicapped.

  20. Cindy Van Winkle says:

    Not all those with a legitimate disabled parking permit are able to drive. Hence the need for a placard to be placed in a different vehicle when traveling. Also, not all disabilities are visible. So I don’t think a lay person should decide who receives it; that’s what medical professionals are for. And yes, maybe doctors need to be educated on the importance of qualifying those who are truly qualified under the guidelines set forth by our state. The probem seems to me to be those that choose to park in a reserved spot for someone with a disabled parking permit when they themselves do not have such a permit nor a disability. I think that if there could be swifter action on vehicles violating the reserved parking spots: a business having the ability to have it towed if the appropriate identification isn’t visible, higher fines lodged against registered owners of vehicles in violation, etc., there may be less unauthorized people taking up those spots needed by folks with the appropriate identification and disability.

    • Kim says:

      Several times I’ve seen a car parked in a disabled parking spot, yet there is someone sitting in the driver’s seat or the passenger’s seat of the car. Kind of makes you wonder who exactly is disabled?

      • Jeff Sleep says:

        The law requires that the placard owner be in the vehicle when parking. That does not mean that they must drive, run into the store or anything else only that they be in the vehicle when it is parked. I often use the DP spot in front of 7-11 and have my grandson run in to pick up a gallon of milk.

  21. Kim says:

    How about an app for those who have smart phones? Open the app, enter the permit number and if it’s not valid, let an officer know.I have a permanent permit because of my fake ankle. I use my permit when I need it and when I don’t, I park in a regular space.

  22. Howard Tate says:

    I feel the hanging placard should be eliminated,as it seems to be the problem.Disabled people who still own and operate a motor vehicle should all have disabled license plates.The license plate number can also be printed on the disabled persons identification card.Most people will not loan you their car as quick as they might hand you their placard.

  23. Moberly Janet says:

    Possible suggestions 1) With the digital age could a small light be in the permit that hangs on the mirror that either lights up and goes out when the 3 month or 6 month permit expires? or 2) maybe the permits should be returned after the 3 months or 6 months with a 2 week grace period. If they were not returned they would get a fine. I am sure probably neither are feasible but suggestions. I get very upset at people who misuse the permits after having an in-law who needed the space.

  24. Vic says:

    maybe if the doctor’s name or license number is on the placard they would be more careful about signing off on fraudulant applications.

  25. Tight Jawed says:

    What about these disable permits being used to receve a 50% discount at state parks when camping? Most disable permit users I know are in the same income bracket as full price campers, so why the discount?

    • Brennor Beck says:

      The DPworkgroup email is invalid according to yahoo.
      That ought to hold down comments!

    • Kim says:

      Really? How many people people do you know that have a disabled parking permit? I think you are just annoyed that you don’t get the discount. I have a permanent permit, and my income has gone way down due to my disability,and my husband and I love to camp. Should we be penalized?

  26. Janice Horton says:

    It just seems to me that everyone has permits and it has become harder and harder to find a parking place to those who really NEED it. I am a 61 y.o. paraplegic in a power chair. My van has a ramp so I can get in and out of the van. When all the spots are taken at the grocery store, I have to park out on the street. I hope there is a way to better monitor who gets permits and who doesn’t. I’m happy to provide my medical information to continue to prove I’m a valid recipient. Thank you.

  27. PAT FORSTER says:

    Put the license plate number of the vehicle on the permit, so it cannot be transfered to other non permitted vehicles.

    • Gail Him says:

      Putting license plate numbers on permits is a bad idea. My disabled mother has different drivers take her places and the permit is needed so she keeps it with her .

  28. Craig Roberts says:

    Do not give disable permits to obese people. Obesity does not deserve to be rewarded the privilege of special parking.

    • LD says:

      After 20+ years with a genuine mobility disability, I put on some weight and you want to yank my permit. Nice. Trust me, no one misses my 23 inch waist more than I do. BTW, I postponed a parking permit for as long as possible because it felt like “giving up”.

    • Teri Decker says:

      Same answer as LD.

      My husband was a US Marine and his knee and neck were injured while he served. Twenty years later arthritis and an accident damaged his other knee and back.

      You try exercising and staying fit when you can’t walk, stand or even raise you arm above your head to swim.

      I’m responding because it isn’t just Craig that has the attitude that obese people shouldn’t have the placards (or be treated with respect). My husband gets glares and even a few comments about losing weight when he parks in a handicapped spot (with a valid placard) even though he uses at least one cane at all times. Apparently his disability doesn’t “count” to most people because he is fat now.

      • Howard says:

        Thanks for your input,it’s easy for people to judge others at a glance.I have actually wondered at times how many people have handicapped parking just because they are obese.You have opened my eyes and that is what this is all about.

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