Want to use a disabled parking spot? You’re going to need a doctor’s note. A state law aimed at cracking down on abusers of disabled parking privileges will require eligible Spokane drivers to visit a doctor before getting a disabled parking placard, according to the Spokesman-Review.
Those seeking a renewal of disabled parking placards, tabs and license plates are now required to submit a signed doctor’s prescription ornote on official letterhead. Before, drivers needed only to submit a doctor’s name, medical license number and signature in order to receive those items, then just a signature in the mail to renew their placard every few years.
Washington State legislators changed the law last year to cut down on drivers who forged paperwork to receive disabled privileges, or who used the placards and plates of relatives or acquaintances. The changes took effect July 1, and the Spokane County Auditor’s Office has already turned away some drivers unaware of the new requirements.
The law also ups the penalties for drivers who abuse the system. Obtaining disabled parking credentials through fraudulent means is now a misdemeanor offense with punishment up to a 90-day jail sentence and fine of $1,000. Before it was a traffic infraction with a $250 ticket.
Other changes extend the amount of time drivers can use a temporary disabled parking permit, from six months to up to a year now.
Drivers who generally cannot walk for more than 200 feet without assistance may apply for permits.