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: https://portal.dfa.arkansas.gov/MisuseParking.
Metro on 01/19/2019
Print Headline: DRIVETIME MAHATMA: Bard knew infirmities not all clear