DMV cracking down on abusers of disabled parking placards

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — Investigators with the Department of Motor Vehicles have aggressively cracked down on people misusing disabled parking tags throughout the state of California. That has resulted in nearly 2,500 misdemeanor citations in the last year.

Parking, anywhere in San Diego, is at a premium. That is why handicap parking spots are strategically located close to the front of the store.

“I can’t walk very far. My back kills me if I walk,” said Richard Laudater. “I use a walker most of the time.”

Folks, like Richard, depend on handicap parking to make a sometimes painful and tedious walk, less of a burden.

“My mobility is limited and this provides me access to an easy parking spot where I can go an shop and come back and not have a lot of hassle trying to find my car,” said Charles Sonitz.

“The older you get, the more heat effects, especially on asphalt like this, and I just feel exhausted by the time I get to the store sometimes,” said Jeanne.

In recent years, the Department of Motor Vehicles cracked down on people abusing the system.

“Other people that don’t have disabilities like to park in these areas,” said Roy Raulpena.

“They pull up and they will have a placard but maybe Grandma gave it to them or maybe they’re borrowing a car that has one,” said Jeanne. “I don’t feel they should be using it.”

The bottom line — If you’re not handicap, don’t use the spots. If you do, you could end up with a hefty citation and a mark on your record.

“When you illegally use a disabled person parking placard, you disrupt the lives of people with disabilities and you interfere with their mobility, so today we’re asking you to save the space,” said Jaime Garza, Spokesperson for the DMV.

Just last year, there were 2,485 misdemeanor citations issued during 256 enforcement operations throughout California.

The first year they conducted these stings, 1,625 citations were handed out during 165 operations.

Jeanne said she would like to see volunteer patrols actively searching for people misusing the placard.

“I’ve had to park at the other end of the parking lot, depending upon how busy it is,” said Jeanne. “Then I come up here to find some young whipper snapper in their sports car jumping into the car, who obviously doesn’t need a handicap.”

According to the DMV, as long as the illegal parking continues, so will the ticketing.

Offenders will have the placard confiscated and will receive a misdemeanor citation between $250 and $1,000.

In California, it’s considered fraud and it’s taken seriously. In addition to the fines, a conviction stays on your record for at least three years and result in jail time and a criminal record.

Related Articles