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Dear Mahatma: I live in Forrest City, and we drive to Memphis a lot. I have noticed new buildings at the weigh stations at exits on Interstate 40 and Interstate 55. Tall, very long metal buildings that I think an 18-wheeler would fit in. What are they for? -- Jim

Dear Jim: Jay Thompson is chief of the Arkansas Highway Police, an agency of the Arkansas Department of Transportation.

Your observation is accurate. Thompson said those buildings are constructed for officers of the Highway Police to do commercial motor vehicle safety inspections. The buildings are equipped with safety pits that allow officers to more safely and efficiently do those inspections regardless of weather.

Numerous commercial motor vehicles have trailers with low clearances, Thompson said, and officers aren't always able to inspect some of their safety components. With an inspection barn and inspection pit, a more thorough inspection is possible.

Dear Mahatma: In your column you featured a comment from "Anita" about able-bodied people parking in handicapped spots. Your reply dealt nicely about those without placards or proper license plates. But some of us took her comment to mean people with proper credentials but without some visually obvious physical aliment. I've been yelled at by someone saying since I could walk (albeit slowly) I obviously didn't need that spot. I nicely replied that my doctor and the State of Arkansas said when I need to, I can. I'm now thinking I should always have a cane or walker. -- Legal But Not Always Visible

Dear Legal: We re-read that Q&A from last week, and didn't get the sense you got. But we're reminded of an old editor who would tell readers, "Madam, we are responsible only for what we wrote, not for what you read!"

The use and abuse of handicapped parking places tends to inflame people, most of whom mean well.

Carry that cane. But use it as a visual, not physical, persuader.

Dear Mahatma: Don't forget that some disabilities requiring handicapped parking are not always readily apparent. -- Mary

Dear Mary: Correctamundo. The list of applicable ailments reminds us of what Hamlet said about "the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to." Many of those shocks aren't visible to the naked eye. If a vehicle has a handicapped license plate or placard, the angels of our better nature should assume the vehicle is legally parked.

Please also note the Bard ended that sentence with a preposition. That's supposed to be a no-no. Now we can tell our English teachers that if Shakespeare can do it, so can we.

Dear Mahatma: Cannot believe you left off the DF&A website for reporting buffoons parking in handicapped places. -- Tommy

Dear Tommy: Actually, dude, we hit the button on the Spinal Cord Commission's website and that led to the web address to which you refer. Here it is, right now:

Metro on 01/19/2019

Print Headline: DRIVETIME MAHATMA: Bard knew infirmities not all clear


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Archived Comments

  • GeneralMac
    January 19, 2019 at 9:54 a.m.

    Another abuse is an able bodied SPOUSE of a disabled person using the handicapped spots when the spouse is not with him.

  • NunyaB
    January 19, 2019 at 11:41 a.m.

    Some may also confuse my able bodied spouse getting a head start while I wait in car for a few minutes before intering store. That shop till you drop saying applies but doesn't have the same time frame on both of us. Instead of retreating to car early I prefer to go in late to thin out cart before checkout. Its a cheaper trip that way.

  • HarleyOwner
    January 19, 2019 at 12:26 p.m.

    Truckers call weigh stations with those inspection buildings; "Super Coops". Truckers call weigh stations "Chicken Coops" where they get their chickens weighed.

  • MaxCady
    January 19, 2019 at 12:37 p.m.

    And what about the thugs who drive their Granny's Cadillac and park in the handicapped? I saw an able bodied man park in a handicapped once and I asked him what his handicap was, he said, "about a four."

  • NoUserName
    January 19, 2019 at 12:43 p.m.

    Anita's use of 'able-bodied' implies the car had legal markings. Otherwise she would have just referred to people illegally parking in handicapped spots. Fact is there are plenty of people stupid enough not to realize not all ailments that allow use of handicapped parking are visible. At least one survey stated: "Twenty-seven percent of survey participants did not know handicap accessible parking spots were also designated for hidden disabilities like deafness or a recent knee injury." A non-handicapped spouse using handicapped parking without the handicapped person present is - or should be - a violation of law. And the spouse should be cited as such.
    I have not, however, found good data on just how much of a problem this is with most using an observation method to determine illegality. One thesis stated ~6% of ~110 respondents claimed parking in a handicapped spot illegally.

  • NoUserName
    January 19, 2019 at 12:44 p.m.

    " I saw an able bodied man park in a handicapped once and I asked him what his handicap was, he said, "about a four.""
    Which, if I was handicapped and questioned about legally parking in a handicapped space, is a LOT nicer of an answer than I would have given.

  • Jfish
    January 19, 2019 at 2:55 p.m.

    Give it up NUN, Frank has explained it again, and of course he would not recommend someone call the police (as he did last week) if they have a placard or a plate. What is a police person going to do when they show up, call the placard/plate holder's doctor and ask if the person has a legitimate handicap?

  • NoUserName
    January 19, 2019 at 3:09 p.m.

    "But some of us took her comment to mean people with proper credentials but without some visually obvious physical aliment. "
    Frank interpreted one way. Seems several others interpreted in another way. Nothing to give up.

  • MaxCady
    January 19, 2019 at 6:42 p.m.

    I'm sorry nousername, but it was a joke about golf. Facetiousness is not one of your languages obviously.

  • Jfish
    January 20, 2019 at 6:41 a.m.

    I think NUN got the facetiousness Max. NUN, as you said last week, I think we agree that you cannot question someone with a placard/plate. Anyway, just for kicks, I would like to see the stats. on the number of handicap plates issued in the last 20 years versus the previous 20 years.