The holidays can be difficult for all drivers, but handicapped drivers suffer the most when their parking spots are taken.
Advocates for the disabled in Montgomery County are urging drivers to stop parking in spaces reserved for those with disabilities. A new initiative called 'Respect The Space' is intended to help curb that behavior over the holidays, when parking is at a premium in retail spaces across the county.
County Executive Ike Leggett tells residents that before using a space designated for the disabled, they should think about for whom it is intended.
"For every space that is taken, there is someone with a disability who cannot get that space and someone who will be denied an opportunity to either visit a doctor, shop or do whatever they want to do," says Leggett. "We're better than that."
Trish Gallalee uses a wheelchair. She says having no access to a reserved space because a non-disabled driver is using it augments her disability.
"There's been many occasions that I'm stuck because I can get in my vehicle, and I've had to go in the passenger side and try and get the chair in and let me tell you, it's not easy," says Gallalee.
County police are stepping up enforcement using a new database that can ID drivers who illegally use disabled parking permits.