Department of Licensing Reducing Fraudulent Use of Disabled Parking Placards and Plates
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Each day, people with and without disabilities have difficulty finding parking within many urban areas of the state. It is perceived by some that there is abuse in the use of disabled parking placards and disabled special license plates. Disabled placards and license plates are being fraudulently used to park in reserved spaces and are being used to obtain free and unlimited parking privileges that are provided to persons with disabilities through chapter 46.19 RCW. As such, the Legislature directed the Department of Licensing (DOL) to establish a work group to study disabled placard and special license plate use and to develop a strategic plan to end any abuse.
Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5024 directed DOL to convene a work group to:
Examine the use of parking placards and special license plates for persons with disabilities; and
Develop a strategic plan for ending any abuse
In developing this plan, the department must work with:
The Department of Health (DOH);
Disabled citizen advocacy groups; and
Representatives from local government
The work group must be composed of no more than two representatives from each of the above entities. The work group may, when appropriate, consult with any other public or private entity in order to complete the strategic plan. The work group consisted of representatives from DOL, representatives from DOH, representatives from the City of Seattle, and representatives from disabled citizen advocacy groups. The work group gathered input from the public via an email address for the workgroup that was published by several media outlets. In finalizing the recommendations contained in this strategic plan, the work group shared its proposed recommendations with disabled citizens and disabled advocacy groups, local and state law enforcement, local government, and the Seattle Commission for People with DisAbilities.
The work group considered many options to reduce abuse. After researching best practices of other cities and states, reviewing many different surveys and studies, gathering public input and examining the pros and cons of the options, the work group came to a consensus on its recommendations to reduce the opportunity for abuse. While many of the stories and information are anecdotal, the work group concluded that the disabled parking privilege is easily abused and the verifiable data does show there is abuse of the system. In fact, several members of the work group witnessed the suspected abuse of a parking placard while on a tour by Seattle parking enforcement officers. During this visit, an officer was citing a vehicle in front of the work group for using an expired placard and