Iowa no longer issuing lifetime handicapped parking permits

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) One of the newest laws of the New Year is a ban on non-expiring handicapped parking permits.

The Iowa Department of Transportation announced on January 1, 2017 that it is no longer issuing anymore lifetime handicapped parking permits.

Wayne Rover is a Cedar Rapids resident and suffers from rheumatoid arthritis.

He can't walk long distances, which is why he owns a lifetime handicapped parking pass, which he hangs in his truck.

But Rover says he's noticed some people use the parking permits when they shouldn't and he says it's not right.

"Especially if I have to walk when I shouldn't have to, that's why I have it, but like you say you see it all the time, so I mean what are you going to do, that's it,” says Rover.

That's why the Iowa Department is Transportation says they're cracking down and putting an end to lifetime handicapped parking permits.

Originally the Iowa DOT issued 537,000 non-expiring placards, but they say too many people have been abusing the system and using these placards when they're not handicapped.

The non-expiring permits were supposed to be returned to the Iowa DOT once a person passes away, but many times that doesn’t happen.

“We actually receive death notices from the Department of Health, so we know there are people that have been issued placards that have passed away and the placards haven't been properly turned back in,” says Cathy Cutler with the Iowa Department of Transportation.

The Department of Transportation says don't worry, if you're disabled and you own one of these permits, you don't have to give it up.

“If you had yours issued before January 1st of 2017, there's really no change for you, just please remember if that person no longer needs a placard, it does need to be turned back in,” says Cutler.

When someone applies for a handicapped permit starting this month, it'll be good for 5 years before they have to get it renewed again.

For those that would like to apply for a handicap permit, the DOT will need an application to be filled out and a doctor's note before a placard can be mailed out.

Iowa DOT says people caught using these handicap parking permits when they shouldn't can face a $200 criminal fine.