Local Parent Uses Facebook To Educate Drivers On Handicap Parking Rules

FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- Fort Smith parent Kristin Houck shared a post on Facebook that is gaining quite a bit of attention when it comes to handicap parking violations.

The mother of two, a 5-year-old and an 11-year-old daughter with Cerebral Palsy, said she shared the post after an outing to Central Mall in Fort Smith.

"I took my kids there to eat and honestly it happens to us all over the place, but yes there was a scooter parked there and I made a funny post because people know how frustrated it makes me," she said.

Houck said she parked her handicap accessible van in a designated spot. Next to the marked area is striped yellow lines where a white scooter was parked.

"When people are parked in these, it doesn't allow us to deploy our ramp ," Houck said.

The mother left the driver a friendly note and posted pictures of her frustrating situation to Facebook.

"Everyone was like, 'You should have called the cops.' But I don't want to get anyone into trouble," she said.

Houck said she hopes nothing more than education comes from her Facebook post, but Arkansas law isn't so nice about it.

Starting in January 2019, fines for violating handicap parking rules will go up $100, making the fine $250.

Arkansas State Representative, Andy Mayberry worked with the Arkansas Spinal Cord Commission to design the newly passed bill called The Van Accessible Parking Act.

He said enforcement of the act will go into effect in January. It consists of a decal to existing license plates or hanging tags for those with a disability parking permit. The decal will ensure a vehicle parked in a handicap spot, marked van accessible, meets the requirements of using a wheelchair, three or four wheeled scooter or walker.

Those with a qualified handicap sticker not using a wheelchair, three or four wheeled scooter or walker can only park in a handicap parking spot not marked van accessible.