By Wyatt Goolsby
It's a sign you see nearly everyday: Handicapped Parking. And while it's meant to help those who need to park a little closer to a building, it's a system that is often abused. That could range from someone taking another's plague to just parking there without permission.
"I mean, you know, it's just inconsiderate. People who need it, and the handicapped, they're limited, I mean the spaces, as far as that goes," said one Odessan.
"I think the ones that need it ought to be the only ones to use it," said another West Texan.
And it's true. Not everyone who parks illegally is always caught. But how does a person go about getting one of those signs in their car? We talked with Barbara Horn in the Ector County Annex building. She said the decision to get a handicapped plaque or plate is up to the doctor.
"Given what their disability is and their name, and whether it's temporary or permanent," said Barbara Horn, the Ector County Tax Assessor/Collector.
But with so much leeway given to the doctor, we decided to find out just what criteria doctors use when determining who can get handicapped parking permits. Doctor Richard Bartlett said it's important to look at the person's medical history and background. He also said that for the untrained eye, you might not be able to pick up on a serious disability.
"Not all physical problems are obvious to the naked eye. And so we have to look back at the history, the physical, our lab results, and then use common sense, and there is always room for common sense," explained Dr. Bartlett.Doctor Bartlett also said there are so many examples of physical problems that you wouldn't notice off-hand. He said these might be emphysema, arthritis, or other neurological disorders. All these might be good candidates for getting a handicapped parking permit.