Stricter handicap parking enforcement?

Apr 26, 2017

BY: CCNH-LFDA Highlights

Last week the New Hampshire Senate passed a bill that requires law enforcement to issue a fine if a person with a walking disability gives a sworn statement and photographic evidence of another person parking illegally in a handicap parking space. 

The bill already passed the House and is waiting for Governor Sununu's signature.

Rep. Robert L'Heureux sponsored the bill on behalf of William Godfrey, a constituent who was frustrated with the enforcement process.

"In the past, when I’ve tried submitting the sworn statements accompanied with photograph, the police agencies often ask me, ‘what do you want us to do with this?’" testified Godfrey. "I sent in a complaint, I expected them to take the action, I shouldn’t have to beg them to do stuff, they should know what to do."

Giving citizens with walking disabilities more power to catch parking violators may make some people uncomfortable, however, especially in light of a case this past March in which a teenage girl became the target of cyberbullying after parking in a handicap parking space and asking for help online to pay the ticket. 

Many violators of handicap parking laws may still hide in plain sight by using illegally obtained handicap placards. The Massachusetts Inspector General estimated that the city of the Boston loses approximately $1.8 million each year due to handicap placard abuse. In a recent case in Portsmouth, one woman had been using one relative's handicap plates and a handicap placard from another deceased relative to park in the Hanover Street garage for free since 2010. 

Should New Hampshire get stricter with handicap parking violations? Share your opinion in the comments below.

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RELATED REPRESENTATIVES

Representative, NH House of Representatives (2016 - present); Member, Merrimack Highway Safety Commission; Member, Merrimack School District School Board; Member, Merrimack Crimeline Board of Directors; Member, Merrimack Library Building Commissio

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