A bill to prevent the misuse of disability identification cards and placards has been signed into law today by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. The measure is co-sponsored in the Assembly by Troy Singleton, John Burzichelli and Reed Gisciora.

Flickr User TheDarkThing
Flickr User TheDarkThing

Under previous law, handicapped placards issued to individuals with a disability do not have an expiration date.

This led to situations in which individuals who received a tag while temporarily disabled continued to use the tag, and the privileges it confers, even after it is no longer needed.

Under the new law, the following changes will be made concerning the issuance and renewal of temporary and permanent identification cards and placards for individuals with disabilities:

  • The term “handicapped” will be replaced with “person with a disability” in keeping with current state law that requires offensive or outmoded terminology be replaced with more acceptable, current language;
  • All disability windshield placards will be issued with a prominently printed and displayed expiration date;
  • Permanent person with a disability identification cards and placards will be required to be renewed every three years; and
  • The certification of a medical professional will be required for the issuance and/or renewal of a person with a disability identification card or placard.

“Instances of abuse involving individuals with disability parking tags were first brought to my attention by a concerned constituent with a severe disability who had firsthand experience with the problem,” says Singleton. “After listening to her concerns and talking to my colleagues, we came up with what we think is a simple, yet effective, way to address the problem.”

Lawmaker Calls them "Common Sense" Changes

Burzichelli explains, “We’ve all walked into a restaurant or grocery store at one time or another and seen high-performance sports cars parked in parking spots reserved for people with disabilities, or watched on a rainy day as an individual parked in a disabled parking spot leapt nimbly from their vehicle and sprinted to their destination. Making these common-sense changes to the law will ensure that we see less of these types of scenarios in the future.”

Florida, California, Pennsylvania, Oregon and Wisconsin have some or all of these restrictions already in place.

“Providing tags to access parking dedicated for people with disabilities is a small way to make daily activities a little less challenging for individuals with disabilities and their families,” says Gusciora. “So when these tags are abused or misused, it can cause a disruption that cascades throughout the person’s whole day. Adding prominent, visible expiration dates to these tags will help eliminate some of the abuse.”


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