OMAHA, Neb. — Violators parking in handicap parking spaces increases in the winter. With more spots being reserved for curbside pick-up, the spots are even more of a priority for those who are disabled.
The sticker on Nia Karmann's van reads, "You can take my spot if you also take my disability."
She is the President of the Nebraska Spina Bifida and says the increase of people parking in handicap parking is frustrating.
"When you park in those handicap parking spots for just five minutes — because all you are going to do is go in — that still takes away my ability and my freedom to be able to do things independently on my own," she said.
She says in the winter months, they see an increase in people illegally parking in spots for the disabled.
"There have been a couple of times where I have had to skip going to the store or going to the mall or going anywhere because there were no handicap spots available," she said.
With more spots now being designated for store curbside pickup, spots designated for those who are handicapped become even more important.
"It's very frustrating and what people don't understand, that to us, it is a huge deal because again, we are left out. We are not included, we are not able to take advantage of something that should be available to everybody. We live in such an able-bodied world that doesn't think of the necessary needs for disabled people," she said.
She says another reminder, that is appreciated, is for people to pay attention to the designated spacing around the handicap spots and not park too close to their handicap vans. They need space to get their wheelchair out of the car and have enough room to roll away.
Handicap parking violations can range from $150 dollars for a first violation up to $300 for a second violation. If you get caught using an unauthorized handicap permit the fine is $200.