Q: I know someone who I think is misusing a relative’s handicapped parking placard. How can I report them?

I.F.

Answer: In most cases, complaints regarding handicapped parking should be sent to the local police department; for instance, if your case is in the Winston-Salem city limits, you would call the police non-emergency line mentioned above.

On private commercial property, the property owner is required to call the local police for enforcement, and for residential apartment developments, the property management office acts as the owner and would be required to contact the police for enforcement, Wright said.

You should bear in mind that many disabilities are not visible to a casual observer.

SAM hears a lot of complaints from people who believe that healthy people are illegally using placards for people with disabilities. The state’s definition of qualifying disabilities is intentionally broad, and many of the covered conditions are not always visible.

Applications for handicap placards must be signed by an approved medical professional.

According to state law, a placard can be issued to a person who meets one of the following criteria:

  • Cannot walk 200 feet without stopping to rest.
  • Cannot walk without use of or assistance from a brace, cane, crutch, another person, wheelchair, prosthetic or other device.
  • Is restricted by lung disease. Uses portable oxygen.
  • Has a severe heart ailment.
  • Is severely limited in walking ability by an arthritic, neurological or orthopedic condition.
  • Is blind or has severe vision impairment. No, people who are blind are not allowed to drive, but a placard allows the person driving them to park in a disabled-accessible space.
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