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Letter from faipule asks DPS to strictly enforce handicap parking law

“It’s illegal to park at any disabled parking space and I urge members of the public to report these actions to the Police by dialing 911. These parking spaces are meant for our disabled community and when people who are 'able' are taking up that space, that’s just not right,” said Commander of the Traffic Division, Ta’aloloioufaiva Captain John Cendrowski.


The Traffic Commander was responding to Samoa News queries following a letter sent to DPS by Tualauta Representative Larry Sanitoa earlier this week. In his letter Sanitoa commended Commissioner William Bill Haleck for taking on the challenge to lead the DPS to enforce and uphold many existing laws that have been established for the safety and wellbeing of all residents in our Territory. 


"However, this letter is to bring to your attention to some concerns that many constituents have contacted me about for assistance," wrote Sanitoa.


“Specifically, I have received several calls and letters from residents with disabilities to complain about the number of vehicles without proper permits/stickers using disabled and/or handicapped parking stalls."


“Indeed, it has been disheartening to personally see for myself that many government vehicles park in disabled parking stalls, which is illegal pursuant to A.S.A.C. 22.0321 (b).


The law reads: “No person may park a vehicle in a space designated for vehicles of disabled persons unless the vehicle so parked exhibits on the said vehicle a disabled person's sticker properly issued by the Office of Protection and Advocacy, and at the time it is so parked was driven by or transporting such disabled person. A person who violates this subsection shall be guilty of a Class C misdemeanor and shall be punished accordingly.”


The Tualauta faipule wrote, “Therefore, this is a formal request for DPS to aggressively enforce the existing law on the use of disabled/handicapped parking stalls.”


Sanitoa noted that it's important for all motorists — both government and private — to comply and exercise common courtesy to make these specially marked stalls available to only authorized  elderly drivers and those with disabilities.


Haleck told Samoa News that he agrees with concerns raised by the Tualauta Faipule, and will definitely look into the issue, given the importance of these parking spaces for the disabled community.


Capt. Cendrowski noted that people who are not disabled should never park in a space “reserved” for people with disabilities unless you have a permit or placard.


“It's the courteous thing to do — and it is the law. Also important to remember — do not park in the striped access aisles next to spaces reserved for people with disabilities, even if you have permits or plates," said Capt. Cendrowski.


“The access aisles provide room for wheelchair users to transfer safely to and from their vehicles,” he said.


The Traffic Commander further noted the citation fee for this violation is $45 plus $10 law enforcement fee, however the fee will increase after the first citation has been issued.