California gives disabled parking placards to people who don't provide enough medical information to prove they need one, state auditor Elaine Howle said in a report released Tuesday.
The state auditor reviewed about 100 approved applications and found nearly three in four did not adequately describe the disability, and nearly one in five included a medical provider's signature that didn't match the one on file with the licensing health board.
The report also says the Department of Motor Vehicles has not canceled permits for about 35,000 people who are probably dead.
TBC asked readers: Do applications for disabled parking placards and license plates need more scrutiny? Do you see people using them who don’t appear to need them? How do you judge that? Or does the system work just fine?
Here's what readers had to say on The Californian's Facebook page, with misspellings corrected for clarity:
"The question of do you see people who don't appear to need one is irresponsible," Diana Collins said. "My father lived for three years with only one quarter of a functional heart. He 'appeared' fine. We don't need more people going around acting as judge and juries passing judgment on who they believe deserves anything."
Kay Sullivan responded to Collins by saying, "What ticks me off is that a handicapped person would even have to explain their medical status to complete strangers . . . I refuse to tell anyone anything.. call the cops, I have paperwork, that's all I need!"
Others were also willing to share their personal stories.
"My husband is end stage renal failure and tires easily but to look at him you wouldn't know! I dare someone to question us.... unless you are going to donate a kidney, keep it moving!" wrote Debra Vallejo-Carrillo.
"I have Mixed Connective Tissue Disease and severe Pulmonary arterial hypertension," said Eva Pfeifer. "I'm judged and given dirty looks all the time for using my handicap placard. Just because someone doesn't 'appear' to be disabled, doesn't mean they're not."
"I am 38 and I have Ankylosing Spondylitis which is a type of arthritis, I have a placard and I use it when I am having a bad day," Kimberlee Holinka said. Holinka continued to explain she doesn't use it when she is having a good day.
But others looked at the other side of the issue.
"What gets me is when they pull into a disabled parking spot, hop out and RUN into Target (or wherever) and leave the disabled person waiting in the car," Karen Pierce said. "But it's impossible to discern a disability just by looking at a person. This is a slippery slope..."
Ronnie Laurel Scott said he has seen people take it further.
"The sad part about all of this is that there are those who use the Disabled Placard that do not need it. I have seen people jump out of their vehicles and never stop for a wheelchair grab a basket and go through the store as if they were on a shopping spree so there is abuse."
Carol De Sa Campos said, "How about those people I see without placards using those parking spots as a quick parking zone (10 or 20 minutes) to pick up something quickly at the grocery store or pharmacy?"
And instead of taking a side, Stefan Waggoner made another point.
"People need to be grateful if they don't need one and compassionate to those that do. If someone is working the system that's on them."