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Can I Use Grandma's Parking Permit?

Can I Use Grandma's Parking Permit?


My grandmother no longer drives, so I use her car. It has a disability parking permit, which allows me to park anywhere I want without paying. I feel a little guilty about it and thought maybe I should give it up. On the other hand, am I doing anything wrong by just leaving it there?


I can come up with several arguments in favor of keeping the permit, and only one argument in favor of giving it up.

Let's look at the arguments in favor of keeping the permit:

  • You already pay taxes, so why pay for parking?
  • You never claimed to be disabled. If the parking cops get the wrong idea, that's their problem.
  • Parking costs are highway robbery. It's a way for municipalities to get rich.
  • You often do errands for your grandmother with her car, so she is the one benefiting.
  • People use disability parking permits that don't belong to them all the time. The city knows this and allows for it in their budgeting.
  • The car still belongs to your grandmother, who rightfully had the disability permit. So why get rid of it? Do you need to purge the car of any trace of her? What if her music is still in the CD player, must you throw that away too?

But after all those arguments for keeping it, I can think of a single argument in favor of giving it up:

  • It is dishonest and probably illegal.

The human mind has an amazing talent. We take something that is clearly wrong, and come up with creative explanations as to why it is right. We call this talent “justification.” Almost everyone has a dishonest side, an inner voice that attempts to whitewash wrongdoing and justify immorality.

But we have another side to us that is honest and upright, the voice of integrity that wants to do what's right. After all the justifications, we know the truth.

The Torah (Deut. 6:18) tells us, "And you shall do what is proper and good..." You know what you need to do. Give up the permit. And thank G‑d that you don't need it.

Aron Moss is rabbi of the Nefesh Community in Sydney, Australia, and is a frequent contributor to
Artwork by Sefira Ross, a freelance designer and illustrator whose original creations grace many pages. Residing in Seattle, Washington, her days are spent between multitasking illustrations and being a mom.
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Discussion (19)
March 11, 2017
Illegal and Immoral
It is actually illegal. If you use a disability permit that was not issued to you, you could get a ticket. It is also immoral, because you are taking up handicapped spaces that you don't need, using them up so that a disabled person may not have a place to park.
Edison, NJ
March 9, 2017
As others here have said, the primary reason for not doing this is because it's not an innocuous act - it has victims. The limited number of disabled parking spaces are there for those who need them. When healthy, able-bodied people use them, it deprives those in genuine need of their use. And my brother, the cop, like many other cops, sees it as a serious offence that hurts society's most vulnerable people. He never lets it slide with a warning. It's his personal pet peeve. He gets seriously upset about it. You will get a ticket.
Bryan Baruch
March 5, 2017
Disabled Pernit
Using the permit without either a disabled driver or passenger in the vehicle is illegal, and in Nassau County it can get you a $250.00 fine. Not to mention it is morally , ethically and just plain wrong in any culture!
Steve S
Nassau Cty, NY
March 3, 2017
Clarification of Misuse of Handicapped Parking
Let me clarify my posting of March 1st.
The handicap placard is only for the person to whom it is issued. What many people do not know is that if you are handicapped and going to the store with someone who is not handicapped, you can only park in the handicapped spot if you go into the store. You are not allowed to park in the handicapped spot if your non handicapped passenger goes into the store. The purpose of handicapped parking is so that the handicapped individual will be as close to the store as possible. To park in the spot and stay in the car to allow your passenger the benefit is illegal and is called "Misuse of a handicapped spot" and carries a fine of $500 for "misuse" and $200 for illegally parking in a handicapped spot for a total of $700. In addition your handicapped placard will be pulled by the police and you may also have your license suspended. It is considered a very serious violation.
R Wolberg
March 3, 2017
The most important reason for not cheating by using the handicap placard when you're not handicapped is not just that it's illegal or dishonest but that it's cruel. By taking up the handicap space, you prevent truly handicapped people from using it. But you know this already, or you wouldn't be asking.
Delray Beach, FL
March 2, 2017
Ask the parking authorities
I witnessed a great story with the late Gateshead Rov zt"l. Someone brought him a train ticket, which said 'non transferable' and asked him if he may sell it to a friend. The Rov's answer was, "Ask British Rail!".
Aaron Chaim David
March 1, 2017
Parking pass
Keep the pass for driving your grandmother, but don't use it
when only driving yourself.
March 1, 2017
I have a disabled license plate due to issues with my spine crushing nerve bundles.
There are days when I really need to use a parking spot for those with disabilities, however when I am having a "good day" I prefer not to use those spots and leave them for those who have the need.
March 1, 2017
handicapped parking permit
If the person issued the permit is alive and the permit is good, I would keep it and use it only when she is with me. Other times I would not take up a handicapped space.
Nancy 2
March 1, 2017
In our city, holders of a handicapped or disabled parking sticker are allowed to park in designated zones close to the entrance of hospitals, clinics, and stores. By using your grandmother's sticker to park in these areas, you may be taking the spot of someone who is legitimately disabled and needs the proximity.