Parking Laws
Handicap Parking Steven Senne/AP Photo

In this Monday, Sept. 28, 2015 photo a handicapped parking symbol covers a portion of a parking spot on Castle Island, in Boston.

September 10, 2017

Lawmakers want stricter enforcement of Pennsylvania's handicap parking spots

Two Pennsylvania lawmakers want to make things easier for people who need disabled parking spots.

State Sen. John Rafferty, R-Chester, and Sen. Scott Martin, R-Lancaster, plan to introduce legislation that would implement stronger enforcement of handicap spaces and stop other drivers from obstructing the areas around such spaces that are designated for accessibility.

According to the senators, the state's law prohibits unauthorized parking in disabled spaces, but doesn't say anything about the adjacent "access aisles," which are the painted areas next to the spots meant for people using wheelchairs, walkers or other devices to exit a vehicle.

"Too often, when a disabled person attempts to park their vehicle in a space reserved for those with disabilities, they are unable to realize the appropriate accommodations because an object or another vehicle is partially or completely blocking the access aisle," the senators wrote in a co-sponsorship memo on Friday.

Rafferty and Martin also plan to include language in their legislation that would "streamline the roles and responsibilities of law enforcement" in regulating handicap spots.

NoneAmericans with Disabilities Act National Network/Website

This rendering from the Americans with Disabilities Act National Network shows the requirements for a handicap parking space.

The bill will enable local parking agencies to hire specialists to deal with disabled spaces, and allow witnesses to report alleged unauthorized users of those spaces, with violators subject to towing, a summary offense and increased fines.

The lawmakers said states like California, Florida, Texas and Washington have enacted similar laws, and that Pennsylvania should follow suit.