FRAZIER: No umbrella, no excuse! Illegal egocentricity of parking in handicapped spots

Published 4:00 am Saturday, October 21, 2023

It’s pouring down rain outside and you’ve forgotten your umbrella.

To make matters worse, as you circle through the parking lot of the grocery store and there are no spots near the door to be had. You only need to grab a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread, so what harm, you say to yourself, would it be to just scoot into a handicapped spot?

Well for one, it’s illegal, and if enforced, you could be fined. And two, if you have a working conscience, it could be bothered.

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Jiminy Cricket may show up to remind you that although you may want to avoid getting wet from the rain, someone with limited mobility would most likely be soaked by the time they made their way in if relegated to parking in the back 40.

On Sept. 22, 2023, USAF Ret. Col. Harry McMillin submitted a letter to the editor of The Vicksburg Post concerning handicap parking violations. In his letter, McMillin stated that as a person who has mobility issues, it is disheartening the number of folks he sees who disobey the law.

In July 1990 the Americans With Disabilities Act was passed and within this piece of legislature, handicapped parking spaces were created.

According to the website, prior to the 1960s, disabled parking was non-existent, but in a well-earned fight from disabled activists who wheeled and limped their way to the U.S. Capitol to protest, these determined people were able to win their fight.

Therefore, as McMillin laid out in his letter, for those who violate the law, a penalty will be paid — literally.

For those who park in a handicapped parking space but do not have a handicap sticker or car tag, a citation can be issued, one that could be in the hundreds of dollars, McMillin said. To report violators, all one must do is call 911 and a patrol officer will be dispatched.

In my opinion, getting a tad wet pales in comparison to forking over money for a fine.

But truthfully, refraining from parking in a handicapped space should not be about the money. It should be about respect for others who have mobility issues.

A lot of times, I have noticed it is young people who are violating the law by parking in a handicapped space. I would encourage them to remember that as we age, mobility issues can increase and one day they, too, will be older.

So, do the right thing and don’t park in a handicap space if you can still run inside out of the rain.

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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