Ethically Disabled Drivers
One of every 10 drivers in California has a disabled placard. David Goldstein of CBS2 Los Angeles did an investigative report on this, talking to people he found working out vigorously on treadmills and other workout machines at a chichi LA gym -- after getting out of their cars they hung the disabled tags on.
From the news story with the video:
To qualify for placards, drivers must have a medical professional certify they have substantial impaired mobility, lung or cardiovascular disease or severe vision problems, according to the DMV.
A hidden camera caught one woman place her placard in the rear view mirror of her Range Rover before taking a spin class - several days in a row.
According to DMV records, the woman has been disabled for over a decade.
"You've had the placard since 1999. Do you have a disability or are you just using it to park for free?" Goldstein asked.
"I obviously have a disability," the woman said.
When asked to explain her disability, the woman responded, "There's laws regarding privacy matters."
An internationally-renowned fitness expert, Karen Voight, was also spotted using a disabled placard. She teaches a stretching class at the health club.
"You have a disability?" Goldstein asked.
"Well, my knee is unable to do a lot of things, and I was told by the doctor to be off of it as often as I can," Voight responded.
"Even though you're teaching a class here twice a week?" Goldstein said.
"But I don't. What I teach is a rehab class," she said.
The health club simply labels the class as "stretching.
Young kids were also seen weight-lifting and playing basketball -- their car uses a placard linked to a 77-year-old man.
What this means for truly disabled people -- the sort who roll out of wheelchair vans instead of skipping out of cute convertibles -- is that they sometimes can't find a space because of all the bullshit disabled taking them.
Or, as the woman in the wheelchair in the piece points out, a person like her with real disability may be put through danger and hardship by needing to park far away.
It's reprehensible and I hope the people who have these tags because they got the right doctor to wink-wink that they needed them know deep down what scummy people they are and hate themselves for it.
Oh, and as the report points out, disabled status, once granted, doesn't expire. The placards are automatically renewed, year after year after year.
And finally, as a commenter -- "Mr Law Abider" -- noted at the CBS site:
The real question is why people with the placards need to park at meters for free? What part of their disability requires free parking? What, they can't reach up to put money in the meter? I thought the idea behind the placards was to give people with a disability a parking spot closer to a building....and those with vans, enough room to get a wheel chair in and out. But why free parking? Do away with that and I think a majority of your problems will go away.
Which brings us back to fitness trainer Karen Voigt (Ohhhh, her knees. She can teach stretching, but can't wallllk...oh, it's so hard). The truth is, there's a garage where just about every spot is close to the elevator at that chi-chi gym, Sports Club LA.
I do not work out at a gym or that gym, but David Rensin, my friend and literary conscience, takes me to lunch there about once every six months.
The thing is, you have to PAY to park at that gym's garage, and people with handicapped placards get to park free at meters.
I emailed Karen Voight: email@example.com:
Subj: being cheap is not a true disability - saving parking $ at Sports Club LA's garage
My friend takes me to Sports Club LA for lunch every six months.
The truth is, no space in that garage is far from the elevator.
In fact, it looks like you walked further than you would have if you'd parked at ANY space in the garage to get to your meter.
Hmmm...could it be that you get to park at meters for free, and it costs MONEY to park in that garage?