SOUTHWEST MISSOURI — Many people are often critiqued about their parking. But it isn’t necessarily parking in between the lines people should be focused on, it’s where they park.

We met up with a disability advocate and spoke with him on able bodied people parking in handicap spots. What did he have to say about the issue?

Kyle Daniels says unauthorized people parking in designated handicap spots, especially in harsher weather, brings extra challenges to an already difficult issue for the handicapped.

Kyle Daniels – Disability Advocate, said, “I had a gun shot wound to the C-67 level of the spinal cord that put me in a electric wheelchair for a long time, and obviously able to get back up to my feet. I’ve gotten my left side of my body doesn’t, is still paralyzed, so if it’s slick or snowy out, the legs can slide out from underneath me just as soon as I stand up.”

Like everyone, Daniels realizes that people want to get where they need to be as soon as possible. But he says what some people don’t recognize is, the problems a disabled person can endure if people illegally park in handicap parking.

“Most the time if they have a reason to want to park up close, they might have an issue with the way the walk. and their feet aren’t as sure as a person with an able body would be, and they can slip out from underneath themselves just as fast, I actually fell in the parking lot last night.”

Lieutenant Mike Whitehead of the Neosho Police Department says if you park in these spots and aren’t handicap, not only are you putting people like Daniels at risk of injury, but you may come back with a surprise on your windshield.

Mike Whitehead – Neosho Police Department Lieutenant, said, “If you’re parked in a handicap spot without a placard, the penalties can be as high as $135.”

While $135 dollars might not be a lot to everyone, it could come at a higher cost for someone who is handicap.

“We understand that people are just wanting to get inside, but if we can’t use those spots, we can fall down in the parking lot, we can be just one day away from, or one fall away from an accident, or going back to the hospital, or back into a wheelchair again,” said Daniels.

Lieutenant Whitehead says it’s usually a laziness factor when people illegally park in handicap parking and they need to be more considerate. Daniels says they just want to be as safe as they can and not get injured. He adds it would be nice if people are aware of their surroundings and give people who are handicap a chance to park up front.