License fraud handicaps ethical choices

IUS Horizon

A driver’s capability to operate a vehicle is hindered by the limits of his physical and mental conditions, equating sometimes to a handicapped license.

However, it seems more and more individuals are abusing this system for their own personal pleasures rather than their needs.

According the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles, qualifications for a disability parking placard include temporary or permanent damage requiring the use of wheelchairs or crutches, loss of use in either legs or restricted mobility due to cardiovascular disability or neurological impairment.

Those who are permanently blind or visually impaired can also obtain one.

In addition, they must fill out an application form and have it certified by a doctor — all of which is free.

While these credentials are plausible for having this type of license, it does not mean they should be manipulated in order to park a little closer to a building.

To make matters worse, the only way a handicapped placard can expire is if a physician deems the disability is no longer permanent, allowing this exploitation to merely increase.

In one day, I came across three drivers who almost caused me to have an accident — all of who had handicapped licenses. One I noticed was smoking, another was on her phone and the last drove a huge SUV.

While all of these individuals had a handicapped sticker, it does not justify them for being inconsiderate drivers.

Having a heart disease from smoking is not an excuse for a handicapped license, especially since it is a personal choice to destroy one’s body.

Texting and driving is also bad enough without blaming poor steering for the inability to pay attention to the road.

Since being disabled is also a qualification for welfare, it is no wonder how some of these handicapped manipulators have Mercedes and BMWs.

Certainly, not everyone who is handicapped should be disqualified from receiving a benefit for their condition. Those who are wheelchair-bound or are severely affected by a disease deserve to have assistance.

Similarly, not every handicapped person abuses the American welfare system — they genuinely need government aid in order to get by.

However, being lazy, greedy or selfish is not mentioned in these qualifications, and, therefore, should not be treated as incapacities.

It is not just the fault of these moochers but also the system in place.

Basically, BMVs make it extremely easy to have this kind of license and allow for mistreatment to take place.

In order to clamp down on this abuse, the qualifications and validity of obtaining handicapped licenses needs to be greatly reformed.

The requirements for a disability placard should be more defined and less vague in description, considering anyone could use a simple reason for having ill health.

Also, those who are caught participating in fraud of a handicapped license should have to pay fines for this abuse.

Another option would be to include yearly renewals of the license for those with temporary disabilities in order to ensure certain individuals are still needing one rather than just wanting one.

This would also require the signatures of multiple health care providers in order to ensure an individual has a serious medical condition for having a handicapped license.

In 2010, South Carolina even implemented the necessity of photos with handicapped licenses and certificates with eligibility verification, according to the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles. The cost would also be one dollar, with a limit of one placard per customer.

This reform helps to confirm the person needing the license is the one actually driving or being driven around in the car.

The transformation of handicapped license eligibilities needs to be taken into serious consideration in order to avoid the fraud that occurs.

The misuse of handicapped license and placards occurs too often to simply ignore individuals who use it not because they should, but because they can.

Until then, I will continue to be wary of the next chain-smoking driver in a convertible who has a handicapped license.

By CLAIRE MUNN

Senior Editor

clamunn@umail.iu.edu