(November 14) Chief John Young announced that the Kerrville Police Department and the Citizens on Patrol Program have begun an education and enforcement initiative to raise awareness on the proper use of disability placards and disability license plates. Concerns from the citizens of Kerrville regarding the abuse of disability parking prompted the Police Department to increase enforcement of handicapped parking laws.
Handicapped accessible parking spaces are reserved for people with disabilities who also have a handicapped license plate or accessible parking placard issued by the Texas Department of Transportation through the County Assessor-Collector.
‘It is our responsibility to educate the public to ensure that the rights of citizens with disabilities are protected,” said Chief Young. “We must remind citizens of the need to respect designated parking areas made available to those with disabilities.”
The illegal use of handicap parking spaces infringes upon the rights of citizens with disabilities and immediately becomes an enforceable violation. The Kerrville Police Department will be deploying trained volunteers with the Citizens on Patrol who will educate the public and issue courtesy warnings to those who violate the law. Beginning in January 2013, citations will be issued for violations when warranted.
There are several violations listed in the Texas Transportation Code that deal with disabled parking abuse:
• A vehicle with a disable parking placard or disability license plate must be operated by or for the transportation of a person with a disability.
• The disabled parking placard must be placed on the rearview mirror of the vehicle’s front windshield, with the date facing away from the driver.
• A person cannot “stand” a vehicle so that the vehicle blocks an architectural improvement designed to aid the person with disabilities, including an access aisle or curb ramp.
• A person cannot “stand” a vehicle on which disabled license plates are not displayed and/or a disabled parking placard is not displayed in a parking space or area designated specifically for individuals with disabilities.
• A person cannot lend a disabled parking placard issued to the person to another person.
• A person cannot obstruct the path of travel to an accessible parking space, curb, or access aisle by parking or “standing” a vehicle within a parking space or area designated specifically for individuals with disabilities when that person does not have a disability and/or is not transporting a person with a disability.
To “stand” a vehicle means to halt an occupied or unoccupied vehicle, other than temporarily loading or unloading passengers.
Handicapped access aisles allow individuals extra space to enter or exit their vehicle with a wheelchair, a wheelchair lift/ramp, or other assistive devices.
Fines and costs for handicapped violations are $262.00 according to Kerrville Municipal Court.
The goal of the program is to promote quality of life in the City through effective education and enforcement of parking laws that provide for the safety of the citizens of Kerrville.