A new law adopted by the Iowa Department of Transportation on New Year's Day hopes to crack down on violators.

Beginning this past Sunday, January 1, 2017 the IDOT is no longer issuing lifetime handicapped parking permits.

There are plenty of people who need access to handicapped parking. Unfortunately, many of them need it for the rest of their lives. A total of 537,000 non-expiring handicap hang tags have been issued in Iowa through the end of 2016. The problem is when a person passes away their relatives should return their placard. The DOT says that often doesn’t happen.

Cathy Cutler of the Iowa Department of Transportation told KCRG, "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.”

Now if you already have a lifetime placard Cutler says, "... 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.”

All new handicapped parking permits that are issued will be good for five years. If needed, a new one can be applied for when one expires. You can apply for a permit by filling out the form on this IDOT site. A doctor's note is also required.

Hopefully, this move will help free up handicap spots for more people that actually need them. I think you'll agree there are plenty of abusers out there. For people caught using permits, that shouldn't be, they face the $200 fine that's displayed on the sign.

Bob James

[via KCRG and IDOT]