Michigan Protection and Advocacy Services INC. says, that for one in every six normal handicap spots, there must be one that is van accessible. However, this means that there will only be a van accessible spot if there are 151 or more normal parking spots in a parking lot. Plus, even if there are 151 or more spots, the likelihood of the van spot being open is slim. Anyone can park in these van spots even if they do not have a wheelchair, leaving the normal handicap spots wide open. Taking the van spots may not seem like a big deal to most, but that one out of 151 spots may be the only way a wheelchair bound person can get out of their car.
The issue may not be the ill-informed drivers, but instead the distribution of tags. There are two types of handicap tags: a red tag for disabilities that are temporary and a blue tag for disabilities that are permanent, which can also be distributed in the form of a licence plate. Neither of these tags say anything about the ability or inability to park in the van accessible spots. The issue with only having two colored tags is it makes it possible for a person who uses their spouse’s or family member’s, tag to park in a van accessible spot leaving a wheelchair bound person with no way to exit their vehicle.
The solution? Add another tag. Let’s pretend the new tag is purple. In each parking lot containing 151 or more spots there will be one purple spot with space for a wheelchair to exit the vehicle. People with a permanent disability that limits them to the use of a wheelchair will receive this tag and need to get it renewed every four years just like a normal blue tag.
This change would help disabled people and families everywhere stress less about how they are going to get in and out of the car. This will also serve as an extra layer of safety. When the van spots are taken, many are forced to park in the back of the parking lot in order to have an open space next to them. Parking far in the back means someone, is forced to dodge cars who may not be paying attention or just not see them.
Overall the addition of another colored handicap tag and spots will help the disabled community. According to the website The Blade in an article titled “Michigan Disabled- Parking Rules Draw Fire,” approximately 100,5561 people or families have a in state handicap tag of some kind. Many of these people would benefit to the addition in Michigan alone.