A disabled Tifton man says he's frustrated with people parking in handicapped parking spaces whey they aren't handicapped.
Charles Thomas, 46, says he often sees people who aren't disabled taking up parking spaces reserved for people like him. He wants drivers to be considerate of those who live with physical challenges and need those spaces.
Thomas is a double amputee who has undergone 23 surgeries in 10 years. Thomas suffered some injuries to his legs that never healed causing both of his legs to be amputated below the knee.
Thomas says he faces a lot of challenges such as walking on slippery floors. "I have to plan out when I'm going somewhere kind of where I'm going and what I'm going to do."
He gets frustrated when he sees non-disabled people parking in handicapped spaces. "People that park in the spaces, you do not see a license plate where there is anything that says they're handicapped permit or you don't see the blue tag that hangs down you see neither one of those, you know they pull in there and park somebody might need the space."
Thomas says if you are truly disabled, then you need to have a handicapped parking permit. To apply for a handicapped parking permit, one needs to visit their local tag office and pick up this disabled persons license plate affidavit and have it notarized by their physician.
"Then we can issue them a permanent license plate or we can issue them a temporary hanger or permanent hanger. It depends on what the physician instructs us to do on the application," said Tift County Tax Commissioner Chad Alexander.
If law enforcers catch you parking in those spaces without a permit, there are consequences. "When we get a call or we ride by and we see that your parked and you don't have a permit to park in those parking spaces we will issue you a citation for parking in those spaces and the citation is around $140," said Dennis Reese of the Tift County Sheriff's Office.
Thomas just wants drivers to do the right thing. "If you do not have a permit to park in these spaces, stay out of them somebody truly needs those spaces."
That will keep you from paying a fine and will allow those who are disabled to safely get where they need to be. Thomas says he has called the police several times to report violators, and he's even videotaped them and posted it on YouTube.
If you are approved to get a handicapped license plate or permit, you just have to pay your normal tag fee. There is no additional charge.