Although city and state governments are trying to stop placard abuse, there is enough blame to go around for people with disabilities because of taking advantage of the disabled parking system. Bill Bogdan, disability liaison for the state of Illinois (and a supporter of AbilityLinks) talks about The difference in states' use of placards, the loss of revenue to city and states because of abuse of disabled parking and finding solutions to this complex problem.
1. Bill, the Chicago metropolitan area is known as one of the country’s most accessible cities. How does Chicago stand up against other urban areas in regards to disabled parking?
Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White’s goal is to reduce the fraud and abuse of the Parking Program for Persons with Disabilities to ensure that people with disabilities have the access they deserve. Illinois has enacted strict laws and penalties for those who abuse parking placards and disability license plates. Violators can face $600 fine and six-month driver’s license suspension of illegal use of a placard or disability license plates. Under a City of Chicago ordinance, two percent of the total number of on-street parking spaces must be reserved for on-street accessible parking spaces.
2. Businesses have to be offer spaces that are in close proximity to essential needs. Are they stepping up in planning and building disabled parking spaces?
Under Illinois law, accessible parking spaces must be placed on level pavement on the shortest accessible route to the accessible entrance. For more information on the requirements of accessible parking spaces, please visit the Illinois Attorney General’s website at www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov
3. People commit placard abuse is most times just laziness. What can people do to report abuse?
People should never confront individuals they believe are abusing the Parking Program for Persons with Disabilities. Remember not all disabilities are apparent. If you witness abuse of the program, please contact your local police department or call 911 if the matter needs immediate assistance and report the abuse. People can also complete the Parking Program for Persons with Disabilities Abuse Complaint Form on the Secretary of State’s website at www.cyberdriveillinois.com
4. The City of Chicago has lost a lot of money because of abuse by non-disabled citizens, but how does abuse occur within the disabled community?
Personal responsibility is very important. People with disabilities play a huge role in preventing abuse of the Parking Program for Persons with Disabilities. Do not allow friends and/or family members to use your parking placard or disability license plates when you are not in the vehicle. Illinois law requires the authorized holder of the placard or disability license plates to be present and enter or exit their vehicle when parked in an accessible parking space.
5. Many people with disabilities are veterans. Is there different views/exceptions for this demographic?
The Secretary of State’s Office issues disabled-veteran license plates for our veterans who have a service connected disability and meet the eligibility requirements.
6. You have worked with AbilityLinks for many years, In your opinion, how has AbilityLinks made an impact?
One of the important keys to independence is having a job. Historically, people with disabilities still face significant high rate of unemployment of over 70 percent. AbilityLinks is an excellent and unique organization offering resources for both people with disabilities seeking employment and employers seeking to hire persons with disabilities in their workforce. I am proud to be a member of AbilityLinks advisory committee.