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Constable Carlos Lopez and his deputies assist the citizens and courts of Travis County

Carlos B. Lopez, Constable

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Bruce Elfant

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Constable's Notebook - May 2006

During the first six-months of the budget year, Handicap Parking Enforcement volunteers issued 294 tickets and the precinct Five handicap parking deputy issued 284 tickets for a total of 578 tickets. Most tickets were written to vehicles parked in handicap parking spaces that did not have handicap license plates or placards that hang from the rear view mirror. Dozens of tickets were written to vehicles that were parked on diagonal stripes designated for van unloading and vehicles blocking curb cuts. More than 50 tickets were written for misuse of placards. One person has been ticketed 3 times for using her mother’s placard.

A significant number of the handicap parking tickets written in the downtown area were for people who were using other peoples’ hang tags to avoid paying parking meters. Twenty percent of all vehicles observed parked at meters had handicap parking placards on the windshield. Sixty-five percent of people parked at meters who were identified by the handicap-parking deputy were using placards issued to someone else.

While it has not been prevalent, we have come across several instances where individuals have altered identification numbers or expiration dates on handicap parking hang tags. Altering placards is a more serious crime and may be prosecuted as a 3rd Degree Felony or a Class B Misdemeanor. We are in the process of filing charges in at least two cases.

We also work to help businesses understand what they are required to do under the ADA. The vast majority of Travis County business entities are in full compliance regarding the allocation and marking of handicap parking spaces. Most instances of non-compliance were either because they do not understand how many spaces are required or how they must be designated. The most common problem encountered has been spaces not designated by upright signs. Handicap parking spaces must be designated by upright signs to be enforceable. Those few establishments that refused to comply with the handicap parking provisions of ADA were referred to Advocacy Inc. for litigation.

The passage of the ADA in 1990 made access to public places for people with disabilities a national priority, unfortunately handicap-parking offenses are still too common. If you want to report handicap parking abuses, if you are interested in becoming an enforcement volunteer or want to obtain a copy of the Handicap Parking report contact my office at 854-9100 or view Constable5.com.



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