Non-drivers can get handicap placards, too – Orange County Register

Q. Hiya Honk. My 88-year-old mother has a handicap placard she carries in her purse. When any of our family members take her to shop, dine or go to the movies, we park in a handicap parking place with her placard hanging from the rearview mirror. She recently told me the placard was going to expire; she no longer has a California driver’s license. Can a non-driver apply for a handicap placard? I realize we can drop her off near the front door of where we are taking her, but if we happen to be the only person with her it is challenging to get her wheelchair out of the trunk and help her get out of the car without blocking traffic. We would have to also leave her stranded until we can park and get back to her. For whatever it is worth, when I am not taking my mom with me, I usually park on the far side of the lot in order to get in a few extra steps.

Tom Freeman, Lake Forest

A. Yes, your mom can have a disabled-person placard even if she doesn’t drive, said Artemio Armenta, a spokesman for the Department of Motor Vehicles up in Sacramento.

A placard can be issued for a child when a medical official signs off on it, too, or a business that transports the disabled or a nursing home.

The person the placard was issued for must be in the “presence or reasonable proximity” of the vehicle, Armenta said.

For example, Tom, you can go and meet your mom at a store and use the placard to park in a handicap parking slot until she comes out and gets in – she must directly benefit from the placard.

“The law is pretty clear,” Armenta said. “The penalty can be up to $1,000. It can appear on your driving record. Very serious … if convicted.”

Q. Dear Honk, on Marguerite Parkway near Avery Parkway in Mission Viejo are several car dealerships. Very frequently I see car transporters taking up the painted island to unload cars. What is the law?

Pat Bulseco, San Juan Capistrano

A. Those truck drivers can be cited if seen by an officer.

That “painted island” you are referring to is a lane for vehicles to begin or end their left turns, not to park in.

“Officer discretion, but it is an enforceable Vehicle Code violation,” said Sgt. Brian Sims of the Sheriff’s Department’s Traffic Division.

Honkin’ fact: A residential building in the new USC Village project, across the street from the campus, is named after former defensive lineman Al Cowlings.

He was at the wheel of perhaps Orange County’s most famous drive ever.

On June 17, 1994, in his…

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