Baltimore Officials Crack Down On Illegal Parking In Handicapped Spots

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — If you pull into a handicapped space to run into a store and you’re not disabled, it will cost you. 

Suzanne Collins reports the city’s fine has doubled and a crackdown is underway.

Going to the hardware store is a big effort for Michael Ramey and there’s nothing more infuriating than when he can’t find a handicapped parking space.

“The worst [thing is when you] see somebody get out, 30-years-old, skip on in the store and you don’t have anywhere to park other than nine miles away.  Frustrated like you wouldn’t believe,” Ramey said.

Parking enforcement and MVA investigators caught people parking illegally in handicapped spaces Wednesday.  Placards are checked to be sure the handicapped person is actually in the car.

“A lot of times, people are deceased and family members continue to use that placard rather than turning it in,” said MVA investigator John Harkins.

And then there are the ones who don’t even fake it.

“I see a lot of people who do not have placards or tags parking in the handicapped spot and a lot of them won’t even move when they see you need the spot,” said Dwight Daughton, Commission on Disabilities.

In September, the city raised handicapped parking fines from $250 to $500.  Since, they have issued 519 tickets.

An MVA investigation says the black market price for handicapped placards right now is anywhere from $25 to $80.  People can get that higher price, especially on a college campus where parking is at a premium.

One woman with a disabling back condition learned that the hard way.

“I’ve had my placard stolen at least twice—my car window broken out and placard removed and taken,” said Sheryl Harrison.

One handicapped driver thinks there’s widespread abuse.

“You come in here, there will be a van like that with ladders on top, the guy’s got a handicap sticker, the guy’s loading sheetrock,” said Kevin Ray.

There is also a crackdown on handicapped parking violations going on in Anne Arundel County, according to police there.

  • Bernard F Mc Kernan

    This is one of the biggest scams everywhere & it’s mostly the elderly who play it but a good deal of perfectly healthy looking people abuse this very important program for the disabled. I see people running into liquor stores, working out in health spas, grocery stores movies etc. They have hang tags sometimes & if you say anything you could get shot or stabbed or just plain cursed out.

    • Michael

      How about the fat people who have handicapped tags?

      You aren’t handicapped, you’re fat.

  • ben

    “Going to the hardware store is a big effort for Michael Ramey and there’s nothing more infuriating than when he can’t find a handicapped parking space.”

    No offense to the truly handicapped but if you are capable enough to need to go to the hardware store. It shouldn’t be that bad if you have to park a few feet farther. I mean, if he is going to Lowes, getting to the back of the store is at least as far and the farthest parking spot.

    I have to park closer because of my stutter…

    • urnotfunny

      You are ignorant! There are people in wheelchairs that have handicapped accesible vehicles who still have to live their everyday life and drive to the hardware store. Doesn’t matter which hardware store it is, they still have to live and take care of things just like the rest who are not handicapped.

  • John

    To Ben:
    I am a paraplegic and need a wheelchair to go anywhere. I drive my own vehicle and am totally independent, therefore I go to Lowes, Home Depot or any other store you may mention. I need not only a handicap spot but one with wheelchair access. Every day I see people abusing handicap spots. Even the people interviewed were more than capable of walking an extra 20 feet rather than taking a spot from a really needy person. I applaud Baltimore City for doing this and only wish Harford County would do the same. I f they need a volunteer I would happily take on the role. As far as your stutter comment goes, I hope that one day you suffer a traumatic injury as I have and then we can both laugh at your insensitive joke.

    • bud

      So everyone jumps on this guy for making a not so popular handicapped comment, but this truly handicapped fellow wishes a traumatic injury on someone and everyone is ok with it. If john can make his off color comments, so can ben. At the end of the day, what does it matter what is typed on these stupid comment sections?

      • Bernard Mc Kernan

        Hey Ben, meet you new next best friend,….Ben Dover.

    • j

      My theory is Ben is one of the culprits. What a jerk

      • ben

        Nope, I don’t park in those spaces. I do wonder how someone can describe themself as “”totally independent” and still complain about not getting a better parking space. Exactly what type of home improvements do you do?

        The stutter comment was a reference to a televison show and was intended to be sarcastic – I mean no offense to any handicapped people (just like I said in my original comment). But, yeah, go ahead and be angry with the world because of your misfortunes… we all have problems.

    • Adena

      disgusting, rude and ignorant – these people should be punished and fined accordingly. There shoukd be a solutions that will stop the abuse!!!!

  • Squaregrouper

    What needs to be cracked down on is all the people who have handicapped tags and aren’t disabled. Last week I was at the Sam’s Club on Rt 40 in Catonsville and ALL 17 (I counted) handicapped spaces were taken by vehicles with handicap placards. Ironically, I didn’t see anyone in a wheelchair, or even a limp, inside the store. While I’m on my tangent- why would a Sam’s Club have a need for 17 handicapped spaces in the first place? What are the odds of 17 disabled people shopping in one store at any given time?

  • sven

    If you have to park nine miles away, you might as well go to Lowes or Home Depot their cheaper anyway. Make your complainant but don’t lie about having to park so far from a store.

  • John

    Ben; your ignorance and uninformed comments are your disability. I challenge you to come with me to Kennedy Krieger and witness just how independent we are. My need for a disabled handicap spot is to allow me access for loading and unloading my wheelchair, nothing more. I do a lot of home improvements around the house. I also have a 24 year old son who does a lot and a lot of family and friends that also help me out. Since you have no horse in this race I wonder why you even feel the need to comment. Also, sarcasm in its written form does not come across well, but please continue to spew your ignorant and pitiful bile on here. It is easy to use an anonymous forum to act this way. Again, I would love to take you with me to Kennedy and let you see just what the disabled can do. I’ll drive.

    • ben

      I am a very large person and I often have to find a parking spot with no car in the adjacent spot so I can open my door all the way. This doesn’t seem much different than your issue (although I can squeeze through a not-fully-opened car door).
      Well, at least I’m not wishing my problems on you… “I hope that one day you suffer a traumatic injury as I have ” That is “pitiful bile” in my book. Good luck – I hope there are plenty of parking spaces for you.

      • urnotfunny

        Ben – YOU being a large person should be the last to spew your ignorant comments because I have seen “Large” people discriminated against just for their very size and I think that’s wrong. Also, you are so wrong to tell John that your issue is not that different, he has to use a wheelchair, you don’t, You truly need a dose of learning how to have some compassion. Oh, you didn’t like it when John gave you a dose of your own medicine.

    • urnotfunny

      John – There is no way to reason with ignorance, don’t waste your breath on Ben.

      • John

        your right, thank you.

  • smile

    ben, you don’t understand. people don’t know what it’s like, trying to live in a world make for people who can walk. trying to do the most simple thing as park, but can’t because of jerks who say, handicapped people don’t need it. well guess what, we do. maybe one day you will understand that a parking spot is more than just a parking spot, and not being able to walk is a struggle people are forced to live with. I don’t mean to argue, I just wanted to say my piece. Have a nice night.

  • truthteller

    most stores have a delivery service. so handicap spots should be done away with.if you cant walk to the store from a regular parking spot,then keep your ass home or in the car.

    • Dawn

      You very ignorant… my husband is disabled, he can walk from a regular spot, but his dr. as told him not to… He works full time, pays his taxes… and contributes to this community.. I don’t think him using a handicapped spot is wrong. I hope your always in perfect health and never have any issues…
      Also, delivery services cost more money… many disabled have trouble making ends meet as it is without adding that cost. I hope something in your life causes you to get a heart!

      • truthteller

        DAWN,if your husband is able to do everything you say,then how can you say hes point is if you cant walk into a store ,then dont go in the store.a bird with no wings dosent fly.

  • smile

    sorry truthteller, but if people want to go shopping, they should. they should not be confined to stay in their home. And, it’s not just store handicap spots, it happens everywhere. having a harder time getting out of your car, needing more space, handicapped people have special spots, they can’t walk, and they can’t help it. i am positive if they could choose to walk, they would. also, that was very mean what you said, i am suprised. “If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

    • truthteller

      smile sometimes the truth is not nice. welcome to reality.

      • Dawn

        Your comments are reality, but they are NOT Truth… you delude yourself into thinking your someone special with the truth…your not, your just a small minded, mean person.

  • U

    Ben is a fat a**. Get out of your chair, off the computer and move. Stop eating so much, you might be a nicer person.

  • willie man hanging

    If Ben went on a starvation diet, it would take him three years to die.

  • Not going to take it

    They also need to start checking apartment complexes and condomium complexes. I know my neighbor uses a Handicapped mirror tag that automatically appeared after a “real” handicapped person in our building moved out. She also works fo a doctor. I can guarantee she is an abuser. She’s fat and smokes weed (it reeks out of her unit sometimes). Only handicap she has is her big mouth.

  • Cathy

    I know that is a problem,I went to giant the other day and saw a guy get out of a bmw strut his stuff and had a handicap tag,he was no more handicaped than I
    am,either he borrowed it from hs mother or father or lied to get one,if that is the case shame on them,one day he or any others might be handicaped,they have to realize that it is just not a place to park closer but for the people that really need it,and actually some handicap places are not that close,likr the grocery stores and walmart,target etc you still have to walk across the parking lot

  • EL-JAY

    Just because you can walk does not mean that you can not be considered handicapped. Placards are distributed to those with heart and back conditions- not just people in wheelchairs. If walking means you shouldn’t be considered handicapped even if you have a condition, then if you are in a wheelchair that should mean that you are completely helpless and have a nurse assist you every where. My point is that you cant judge a persons capibility or health status by what you see

  • dee

    I’m in my 30’s I don’t have a disability. I do work with all ages of disable people. You don’t know that person disability so no one can say your not disable because they look like they can walk the extra mile.

    • Dawn

      I couldn’t agree more! My husbands leg disability is not noticable on a quick look, it is only when your really watch his gait that you see something is wrong!

  • CB


  • truthteller

    maby we should put all retail stores inside hospitals.then the next time i need lumber or grocerys ill just go to my local hospital and shop

  • Bernard Mc Kernan

    Truthteller,…Apparently you or a close loved one has never been disabled.”Judge ye , least ye not be judged”..Someone can have a heart condition & not look like it or another disabling condition that restricts their ability to walk distances. One day you just may regret having said those biting cold words. Never judge a book by its cover ok?

    • truthteller

      BERNARD MC KERNAN people without arms dont go bowling… if you cant walk or wheelchair into a store from a regular parking spot then dont go to the store…

      • moleman

        You are a POS & a steamy stinky one at that. Enjoy the flies.

      • urnotfunny

        Truthteller – You are the definition of “IGNORANT”!

  • truthteller

    urnotfunny,just stating the truth,GROW UP and stop name calling.if the truth hurts ,go read the funny papers in your make belief world…..

  • moleman

    The guy with no arms can’t go bowling but he is entitled to sit & watch instead of becoming a shut in you turd.

  • truthteller

    i guess he will try to find a handycap parking spot at the bowling ally just because he has no arms, but his legs work fine.

  • twister

    Truthteller, Disabled is disabled whether legs or arms are absent, and are entitiled to do everything normal people do, but with a privilage.
    So, get a life and be nice …….

  • useyourhead

    By the way you guys, there are solutions to this problem. whatever it is – no one has the right to vilolate disabled parking permits .The problem is in the definition – that is where the municipalitiy has to improve and not give out permits to every fat or limping human being unless they “qualify” for the title of disabled. if this is defined – there should be no problem.

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