Based upon his interest in improving services from the Office of the Secretary of State for persons with disabilities, Secretary of State Jim Edgar in September of 1982 appointed a Task Force to review statutes, policies and procedures affecting the issuance of handicapped license plates, state photo identification cards for persons with disabilities and special handicapped parking decals. The Task Force met on January 17, February 15 and March 16 to consider these issues and now submits the following recommendations to the Secretary.
I. Chapter 1-159.1 of the Illinois Vehicle Code be amended by substituting for the current language the following definition:
"Handicapped Person. Every natural person who is unable to walk fifty (50) feet or more unassisted without great difficulty or discomfort due to the following impairments: neurologic, orthopedic, respiratory, cardiac, arthritic disorder, blindness, or the loss or absence of a limb or limbs."
This change is intended to assure that handicapped plates are available to the persons for whom they are intended: i.e., those persons for whom their disability represents a mobility handicap. A functional definition along these lines has been reviewed by medical personnel at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. They are of the opinion that such a definition does lend itself to certification by a physician.
II. A. Chapter 3-604, et al., of the Illinois Vehicle Code should be amended to delete the word "physically" when referring to handicapped persons defined in 1-159.1 (including at least 3-611 and 3-161).
B. Chapter 11-1301.1, et al., of the Illinois Vehicle Code should be amended to delete the word "physically" when referring to handicapped person defined in 1-159.1 (including at least 11-1301.3; 11-208 (a) 14; 11-209, 12 [d]).
III. 3-616 and/or 11-1301.2 of the Illinois Vehicle Code should be amended to authorize the Secretary of State to issue a "special decal for handicapped parking" carrying the same rights and privileges as a handicapped plate to any eligible handicapped person who desires such a decal as an alternative to a handicapped plate. The following considerations should be reflected in the statutory language:
A. The prerogative of local governing authorities under 11-1301.2 to issue decals to meet the needs of the citizens of their own communities should not be affected.
B. Issuance of such a decal by the Secretary of State should require the same certification by a physician as is required for issuance of a handicapped plate.
C. The decal should have printed on it or affixed to it a personal identifier to guard against the use of the decal other than for the benefit of the person to whom it was issued. That personal identifier should not contain the address of the person to whom the decal was issued.
This recommendation is intended to address the following concerns:
A. Many local governing authorities have not chosen to exercise their discretionary authority to issue special parking decals. Therefore, persons with disabilities living in those communities or in rural unincorporated areas do not have "local governing authorities" from whom they can receive a decal.
B. Some municipalities do not honor decals issued by other municipalities.
C. A handicapped plate is for all purposes permanently affixed to a specific vehicle. Many persons with disabilities do not own a vehicle, and many others ride with friends, family, or paid drivers going shopping, going to the doctor, etc. Additionally, many eligible handicapped persons are reluctant to obtain a handicapped plate in that they feel that the plate, permanently affixed to their vehicle, identifies them as vulnerable to criminals.
Page 10 / Illinois Municipal Review / May 1983
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