DENVER (CBS4) — Colorado drivers with a purple placard have not been required to pay parking meters this year. The Chris Hinds Act exempts drivers with a disability from paying, if their disability impacts their ability to pay.
“This is about making sure we have equal access for those who needed it,” explained Hinds. After hundreds of hours of Hinds’ research, former Gov. John Hickenlooper signed the Chris Hinds Act into law in 2018.
Councilman Hinds was fighting for access to equal transportation long before he was a city leader. In 2008, Hinds became wheelchair-bound after a motor vehicle crash paralyzed him from his chest down.
Hinds explained the challenges he faces while paying parking meters to CBS4’s Tori Mason.
“I could put a credit card into the machine, but did it work? Was it rejected? Did I buy 10 minutes or 10 hours? I don’t know!” said Hinds. The upward angle of many meter screens makes them hard to see from his wheelchair.
The Chris Hinds Act details the exemption for those with a disability that affects:
- Fine motor control in both hands.
- Ability to reach a height of 48 inches from the ground due to lack of finger, hand, or upper extremity strength or mobility.
- Their ability to reach or access a parking meter due to the use of a wheelchair or other ambulatory device.
“If I park mid-block, I have to go the end of the block where there’s a ramp, so I can go up onto the sidewalk. Then I have to come back. The parking meter here in the grass,” Hinds pointed out.
Hinds was the first person to receive a purple placard, but according to the Division of Motor Vehicles few have followed.
The state expects to issue 20,000 purple placards, but so far only Hinds and 82 others have them. He worries qualifying drivers who aren’t aware of the exemption are still struggling at the meter.
“I was expecting to hear more people talk about, and I’ve basically heard nothing about it. For the people who qualify this is a game changer,” said Hinds.
The form to apply for a placard can be found on the DMV‘s website. A medical professional must sign the form before it can be reviewed by the DMV.