Michigan Lawmakers Introduce Bill Granting Free Meter Parking for the Elderly


Roughly 40% of Americans over the age of 65 years old have at least one disability. Among these 15.7 million seniors, wholly two-thirds struggle with mobility issues related to walking or climbing. In Michigan, lawmakers are hoping new legislation will at least help elderly drivers cut down the walking distance needed to travel from their parking spot to their destination. 

According to WZZM 13, a new bill is being introduced across Michigan that would provide free parking to any senior over the age of 75. Of Michigan's 7.1 million licensed drivers, 7.5% of those are drivers 75 years old or older (539,000 drivers). Nearly 300 of those elderly drivers, as of October 2016, were 100 years old or more. 

These elders may struggle to maneuver both in their vehicles and on their feet, and finding a parking space that doesn't cost anything can be difficult. Before this bill was presented, elderly Michigan drivers would have to find free parking spaces in order to save money; however, that could result in long walks to and from their desired destination. This bill would allow senior drivers to park for free at any metered space across the state, subsequently cutting down their walking distance. 

Senate Bill 208, introduced by Sen. Coleman A. Young II, would require some form of documentation to differentiate between elders who fall into the 75-and-up age category. 

"You have to be a licensed driver and it has to be your car," said Young II. "So, it's a sticker that would go on a car. It's not something that's supposed to be moved around a lot. I’m sure that there are people that take advantage of the system we have now, but I think that most people will use it in the right way."

According to Michigan Radio, the bill, introduced in early March, has been referred to a committee for a hearing.

For full story, pick up a copy of the MONTH XX issue of The Allegan County News/The Union Enterprise/The Commercial Record or subscribe to the e-edition.

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