San Francisco “Cracks Down” on Disabled Placard Misuse


San Francisco “Cracks Down” on Disabled Placard Misuse

I haven’t made any fun of Baghdad by the Bay for a few months, but I couldn’t let this one pass. The city/county has decided to crack down of disabled placard misuse. A laudable goal.

I saw the article on NBC news while perusing  You can too, click here.

What follows is the one example the story used to describe the “crackdown”

Parking control Officer Chris Nichel cited one driver, Jose Barbosa, for using an expired placard. Even though Nichel confirmed Barbosa has a new, valid placard on file with the DMV, it wasn’t the one on the vehicle, and Barbosa was hit with a hefty $800 fine.

Wow! What a crackdown. No wonder last year SF only wrote 2500 tickets for disabled placard violations last year.

Studies have shown that in most major cities, the number of misused disabled placards vs valid use is upwards of 50% and the best our enforcement friends in SF could do was some poor disabled person who got caught up in the bureaucracy.

People use stolen, expired, or counterfeit placards because they allow them to park for free. Did it ever occur to anyone to ask disabled folks to come up with a solution? After all they are the ones that are hurt when these donkey’s butts take their place.

Activists tell me that disabled need two things:They need convenient spaces for their vehicles where they can get crutches and wheel chairs out of back seats and trunks, and they need extra time to negotiate curbs and stairs to get where they are going, plus the intricacies of payment machines.

What’s that, disabled paying for parking. Yep – They need access, not charity.

So if we provide space (pretty much done) and perhaps double the amount of time for the money paid, perhaps the street value of a disabled placard would plummet, and there would be fewer donkey’s butts who are attracted by ‘free’ stuff.

Of course counterfeit placards could be shut down with an on line solution that exists right now in the parking techno sphere.

Will any of this happen? Of course not. There is no political will to help the disabled. If one is concerned that the disabled should get some money due to their disability, set up a program where disabled folks who drive cars can get parking funds direct from the state/city/county and be done with it. It won’t be easy, and one size fits all won’t work.

A good start might be discussions with the disabled and the parking folks. Come up with a plan, tell the politicos to enact the laws… wait…. There is a certain amount of logic here. And logic and politics simply don’t mix.


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John Van Horn

One Response

  1. We have pretty much the same problems here in the UK but perhaps deal, or could deal with it, since many cities don’t try too hard, more effectively than you guys.
    We have a standard permit across all Europe which is security printed. It can be counterfeited of course but not as easily as some of the things you have. The permit has the photo of the user included so if granny isn’t there, your busted.
    Misuse is a criminal matter and the police and the courts will be involved. If you use a fake, stolen or counterfeit permit you have cheated the city out of the parking fee, that’s fraud and a criminal conviction, not a parking citation. Oh yes and the courts can seize a vehicle used in committing a crime, as Mr Smart Arse found out when he used a fake disabled badge and didn’t get his Porsche back.

    It still doesn’t stop the guy using grannies badge to drive down to the pub, or someone fee-loading on a dead relatives badge but it makes getting caught painful.

    Several cities have set up very effective joint Police municipal squads to stop this and perhaps, if a city wants to know what to do they should risk getting on a plane?

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