Friday, October 22, 2010

Two doctors in NC want state to add pictures to accessible parking permits


NEW HANOVER COUNTY, N.C. -– Two doctors from New Hanover County are pushing state lawmakers to reformat the way handicapped parking permits are issued.

Handicapped spaces are designed for those who need assistance getting from place to place or who cannot walk far distances for one reason or another. But some people who do not need the aid use the spaces, making it more difficult for those who do.

"If people who are in a wheelchair can't park close to the door, it can be a safety issue," explained Dr. John Liguori. "They may have to wheel their wheelchairs 200 feet in a parking lot, and they can get hit by a car that doesn't see them."

Doctors John Liguori and Neill Musselwhite are urging state lawmakers to change the way the permits are issued. Right now, two passes are given to each person, making it tempting for a friend or family member to misuse the pass to get a close parking space if they're in a hurry or don't want to pay for parking at the beach.

"The person who's disabled can use it and the other one goes to the spouse or grandson to go to Wrightsville Beach, and not pay money in a parking meter to go surfing all day," said Liguori.

Musselwhite said he would like to add a picture of the person using the handicapped spaces on the permit, in addition to a phone number for people to call if the photograph does not match the person using the space.

The doctors plan to present their ideas to the State's Medical Society this weekend. If they jump on board, then they will pitch their proposals to state lawmakers.