Disabled drivers–define your terms

Ignored by the ALLDERBLOB for too long, our readers agree, is the hoopla about so-called “disabled” permits being abused by car-owners.

Fact is, it’s always vaguely satisfying, from a non-driver’s perspective, to see the division in the driver’s world. Schadenfreude is overused these days, but the English word “epicharikaky” means the same thing and deserves reviving: happiness derived from the futile flailings, if not the outright suffering, of others (epicharikaky is also spelled with the suffix -cacy, but we prefer the -kaky suffix, for obvious reasons [see the comments at this link --ed.]).

Here’s the story, in case you’re a spammer from somewhere outside the GTA and haven’t heard the latest news: folks with “disabled” permits on their car dashboard are permitted to park closer to the entrances of the malls and beer stores, to park for free on city streets, to park closer to the door to the parking garage at the airport.

You get the picture. park wherever you like with one of these

Thing is, there are lots of fake permits floating around. David Bruser at the Toronto Star and Car Advertiser reported the other day that while Census Canada knows of about 1,700 Ontarians over the age of 100, the provincial transportation ministry has issued 4,400 permits to centenarian drivers.

The discrepancy underscores yet another problem with the permit program that the Star found is abused by able-bodied drivers: The ministry does not know if all of the nearly 470,000 permits in circulation are being properly used by people with qualifying disabilities.

This damning report followed a lavishly photographed story in the Saturday Star and Car Advertiser in which a photographer stationed himself along a street in Yorkville (a place with lots of expensive boutiques and galleries) and snapped photos of seemingly healthy non-disabled folks
does \"blonde\" constitute a legal disability? (Steve Russell photo)
jumping in and out of their “disabled permit” cars.

Hoopla.

Fact is, all drivers deserve disabled parking permits
, in the ALLDERBLOB world. Why make special dispensation for some, like the guy with the “back problem” that “flares up from time to time,” or the lady with arthritis that makes walking “nearly impossible” on certain days (depending on the weather).

Give them all disabled permits, we say. They deserve the very best their money can buy. Why discriminate. For many of them, the need for an “assisted mobility device” is all in their head. And as Margaret Wente has made clear, Morbidly obese people deserve our help, not our scorn“Just because I’m obese doesn’t mean I’m not disabled, too.”

Anyone who drives a car is by definition “disabled.” Why discriminate among them?

Would this create a lawless mayhem on the roads? Here’s another idea.

Create a disabled permit lottery.
Instead of 470,000 permits issued at a whim, issue, let’s say, 362 permits, and set up a waiting list, which people would pay to register for on a yearly basis. Cap the waiting list at 500 names itself, and hold a yearly lottery for the places that come available on the list if people die or drop off of their own accord. You wouldn’t have to charge too much money to be on the waiting list–maybe $100 for the first year, and $30 a year thenceforth. This would generate enough to pay for the bureaucracy required to administer the thing.

What? Can’t be done? Wouldn’t be fair?

Well it’s the exact same approach that’s been taken to get a place on the car-free Toronto Islands residential community.

Question: why are drivers pandered to, regardless of their infirmity, while non-drivers are treated like shite, regardless of their state of good health?

Schadenfreude? Epicharikaky? Who’s laughing now?

2 Responses to “Disabled drivers–define your terms”

  1. RC says:
     

    Your proposed system would seem to actually benefit undeserving and "abled" drivers since they are the ones who can most afford to wait around for years to get their permit and would no doubt be happy to "win" the lottery one year and not have the benefit the next. Something tells me there are more than 362 truly deserving disabled drivers in Toronto let alone Ontario.

    In a perfect world no doubt, public transport would be so easy for the disabled that it would preclude them ever needing to drive, but since for the truly disabled walking and/or cycling are difficult and/or impossible (that being a primary reason they're allowed to park closer to destinations than the abled), walking distances involved in most transit trips (outside urban centres at least) make transit less than desirable. There's a reason the TTC runs a Wheel-Trans service and that's because regular transit is not very feasible for the severely disabled - how much would this service have to be expanded if a whole slew of disabled drivers were being discouraged from using their cars by losing their permits?

    Your comparison to the Toronto Islands community is deceptive - the waiting list and tenure structure for the Islands was designed to prevent the most privileged people (read richest) from snapping up all the island lots with high bidding at market rates. No one needs to live on the island - people want to. You seem to be presupposing that noone needs a disabled parking permit, people only want them.

    While that might play nicely into your anti-car (b)lobby, it's neither true nor fair.

    You could take the same approach to supposed abuse of the welfare or health systems and allow only 362 health cards and 362 families on welfare and let the bastards sit on a waiting list and take their chances in the lottery to see if they get coverage this year.

    I think everyone except Stephen Harper would agree that would be a BAD idea (oh gee, I hope he doesn't see this and get ideas!).

  2.  

    I'm so goddamned thrilled to have a message I don't even care that it's one that takes the piss out of me.

    thank you.

    In response to your response I have a response, to be posted momentously.

    blobby

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