Parking in a spot designated for people with disabilities is easy to rationalize. The errand will only take a minute. There isn’t anyone in sight who needs it. And, do they really need that many spaces?
Yes. Yes, they do. And a stunning new campaign that confronts the violators explicitly demonstrates why.
Russian nonprofit Dislife recently teamed up with ad agency Y&R Moscow to produce the powerful “I’m more than a sign” spot.
They installed cameras in shopping malls and business centers in Moscow, which determined when a handicap sticker was and wasn’t present on a vehicle. When the technology detected an unauthorized driver, it projected a hologram of a person in a wheelchair who challenged the person in front of him.
“I’m not just a sign on the ground. Don’t pretend that I don’t exist,” the person in a wheelchair admonishes.
“Yes, I’m real,” the man continues.
In Russia, more than 30 percent of drivers dismiss the signs on the ground and park in spaces for people with disabilities, according to the campaign.
For people with mobility issues, having access to those spaces can be a matter of life or death.
Rachelle Friedman, a blogger who endured a spinal cord injury five years ago, explained that those segregated spaces make sure that people in wheelchairs don’t unload near a row of parked cars where drivers may not see them when they pull out.
The spaces also give people in wheelchairs ample room for van ramps and transfers.
“There's not a new discovery that needs to be made, it doesn't require millions in funding and it doesn't even take an intelligent person to see that the solution is pretty darn simple,” Friedman wrote in a HuffPost blog. “People with disabilities deal with enough on a daily basis and access shouldn't be one of them.”