State DMV officials announced a statewide crackdown on the fraudulent use of disabled person parking placards.
Enforcement efforts led to nearly 2,500 misdemeanor citations being issued between July 1, 2017, and June 30, according to a DMV news release.
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station officials said fraudulently parking in a disabled parking space places a burden on those who have special needs.
“You have people who are healthy taking up space from people who are not that healthy,” said Lt. Leo Bauer of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station. “It places an unhealthy, extra burden on (the legally disabled).”
Last year, the DMV increased its enforcement efforts by holding as many as 24 operations each month, according to state officials. The DMV also launched an awareness campaign to educate the public about the proper use of a disabled person parking placard.
“When we conduct one of our operations, we have to see someone actually park in a disabled parking spot,” said DMV spokesman Jaime Garza “We look for three things: the placard number has an assignment number on it; there’s a registration card that accompanies that car that has to be in the car; and thirdly, we check the ID of the person, because the only people who can use the placard are those it has been assigned to.”
Offenders have their placard confiscated and receive a misdemeanor citation that carries a $250 to $1,000 fine. The violation also appears on their driver record.
Statistics show that, on average, 1-in-10 people whom DMV investigators contacted in the past 12 months were either illegally using a disabled person parking placard or parking in a disabled spot without a placard.
Anyone who suspects a person might be misusing a disabled person placard is urged to report it using an online complaint form or by contacting their local DMV Investigations office. Submissions are confidential. It is important to note that some qualifying disabilities are not visually apparent and allegations of misuse might be unfounded.
“There are a lot of disabilities that you can’t physically see, it could be a heart condition, it could be a muscular condition,” Garza said. “We ask people before you start pointing the finger, just understand that not every disability will be visible to the naked eye.”
For more information about the California DMV, visit their website at www.dmv.ca.gov. The DMV also provides “Safe the Space” brochures, which provides information about Disabled Parking placards and plates.
The above information was provided to the Signal by the California Department of Motor Vehicles news release.