SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Non-handicap drivers are gobbling up parking spaces all over California.
State lawmakers say the rampant abuse of the disability parking placard system starts at the Department of Motor Vehicles.
A few hours ago, elected leaders announced a bi-partisan audit of the DMV in hopes of getting to the root of the problem.
We uncovered cheating of the system in the Bay Area.
There is an incredible amount of fraud and it’s been going on for years. There has to be.
Does 1 in 8 California drivers have a disability? That’s how many blue placards there are.
It’s pretty easy to get one. Just fill out a form and have a doctor sign it. An audiologist could say you have balance issues and can’t walk far or a psychiatrist could say you’re depressed. Those are actual ways to get a placard.
Robert Planthold helped write a grand jury report on the problem almost 10 years ago and has been fighting for reform ever since.
“Doctors get very low fees on HMO payments so that, what’s it to a doctor to fill out a form for you to keep you as a patient?” he said.
“There was a place in San Francisco that we were told that for $750 in cash, you would get a completed form, authorized by the right type of doctor,” Planthold said.
But nothing was done. So the problem is massive.
Democrat Mike Gatto and Republican Eric Linder have joined together to ask for an audit of DMV procedures.
“The benefit of the audit is that it will bring to light whether enforcement is enough, or whether there needs to be some additional changes,” Assemblymember Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) said.
Like whether balance or parking anxiety is an appropriate reason to be able to park at any meter, without paying, as long as you want. That’s what you get with one of these passes.
“There are roughly 24 million drivers in California and there’s 3 million or more with a disability placard… We know that one out of eight drivers is not disabled… So we know there is massive abuse out there,” said Gatto.
California lawmakers have drafted a bill modeled after an existing law in Michigan.
According to Gatto, once the law came into effect Michigan saw a 98 percent drop in the amount of people applying to placards.