How to Report Illegal Handicap Parking – Your Rights, Procedures, and Impact

Reserved car parking for human with disability

Accessible parking is more than just a convenience for disabled people; it is their right. 

Yet, the misuse of these spaces by others significantly hampers their everyday lives.

Our guide aims to empower you with the knowledge to report illegal handicap parking effectively, ensuring these spaces serve their intended purpose.

How to Report Illegal Handicap Parking

Understanding Disabled Parking Rights

Disabled parking spaces are not a luxury; they are a legal requirement designed to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities. These designated spots are strategically placed to offer the shortest route to a building entrance, minimizing the distance for those with mobility challenges. Understanding these rights is the first step toward safeguarding them.

In the United States, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) mandates the provision of accessible parking spaces in public and private parking lots.

Discover best practices for designing and painting accessible parking spaces on private property in our article.

The Importance of Reporting Illegal Handicap Parking

When a vehicle without the proper disability placard occupies a disabled parking spot, it doesn’t just violate a parking rule; it directly impacts the daily lives of disabled people.

Studies show that one in four cars parked in disabled spots do so illegally.

Handicapped woman getting out of her car

A user shared the image on Reddit showing how people can occupy parking spots and take rights from disabled people. 

Parking abuse not only inconveniences disabled individuals but also deprives them of accessible parking facilities. Addressing these violations can foster a more inclusive society, and your voice can significantly contribute to combating parking abuse and promoting respect for all community members.

A video shows illegal parking at a mall in Chicago.

How to Report Illegal Handicap Parking

Reporting illegal handicap parking is a straightforward process that can significantly impact the availability of these essential spaces for those who genuinely need them.

Here is the step-by-step guide for it:

  1. Verify the violation: Confirm that the vehicle illegally uses a handicap spot without a valid placard or license plate.
  2. Gather Evidence: Take photos of the vehicle and the parking sign and note details (make, model, license plate, location). Also, note the time and date of observation.
  3. Report to Authorities: Call the local police at a non-emergency number or use the city’s online form. For private parking, contact property management.
  4. Provide Details: When reporting, share your evidence and specific information about the violation.
  5. Follow-up: Get a case number and check later to see if action was taken.

Using Mobile Apps

You can also use mobile apps or websites that report parking violations in many cities, such as the Parking Mobility app. These platforms often require photos of the vehicle and its license plate, ensuring the report is credible and actionable.

Using Websites

Another way to file a complaint is through Users may specify the location of the illegal parking, including the city and state. The site then forwards the information to the proper authorities for inquiry. It also reveals recent offenders and their cities, which might assist in identifying repeat offenders or concerns in certain areas, such as crowded shopping sites.

Identifying Misuse of Disabled Parking

Recognizing when a disabled parking spot is being misused is key to effective reporting. A clear indicator is the absence of a valid disability placard or disabled parking license plate on the parked car.

Also, watch out for cars wrongly parked in white access aisles. These aisles are meant to give wheelchair users room to get in and out of their vehicles.

Be aware that not all disabilities are visible. If you see a placard or license plate, give the benefit of the doubt unless you have clear evidence of misuse, such as using someone else’s placard.  

The distinction between legitimate and non-genuine violations is important for effective enforcement efforts.

Legal Consequences of Misuse

The misuse of disabled parking spaces can lead to significant legal consequences, including hefty fines and, in some cases, the revocation of driving privileges. In Florida, for example, fraudulently using a disabled parking placard can result in fines and mandatory community service hours dedicated to assisting people with disabilities.

Penalties also vary by state, but the message is clear: abusing disabled parking rights is a legal offense that can carry stiff repercussions. By reporting violations, you advocate for those who need these spaces and support enforcing laws designed to protect their rights.

Supporting Disabled Parking Enforcement

Community involvement plays a crucial role in enforcing disabled parking regulations. By being vigilant and reporting parking abuse, community members can significantly aid local authorities in maintaining the integrity of disabled parking provisions.

Dani, a disabled person, said that if you notice a car without proper documentation in a disabled parking space, it’s important to contact the police department. 

A video shows how people can misuse their family’s parking permit at a disabled spot.

Local parking enforcement agencies often run awareness campaigns to educate the public about the importance of accessible parking spaces and the impact of misuse. Participating in or promoting these campaigns can be another way to support the cause.


The misuse of disabled parking impacts the lives of those with disabilities more than many realize. By understanding how to report illegal handicap parking and taking action when necessary, you contribute to a more inclusive and accessible world.

If you see something, say something. If you witness illegal handicapped parking, don’t hesitate to report it to the proper authorities. Let’s work together to uphold the dignity and rights of every individual in our community.