Black Friday Will Cost Some Shoppers More Than Planned With Disabled Parking Crackdown
White announced Tuesday that Secretary of State Police will be patrolling Woodfield Mall on the day after Thanksgiving to target scofflaws who use disabled parking placards or handicap license plates to park illegally in designated handicap parking spots.
Similar enforcement stings will be happening simultaneously statewide at malls in Rockford, Springfield and Marion.
“Our mission is not to give tickets, but to ensure the parking spaces are available to those who need them,” White said. “My message today is simple-if you don’t belong there-don’t park there.”
While White’s office conducted a similar enforcement program last year on Black Friday, this year’s clampdown comes on the heels of a Sun-Times expose’ that showed the immense volume of motorists using stolen or borrowed disabled parking placards to avoid having to pay for metered street parking.
In addition, Illinois State Representative Karen May (D-Highland Park) is proposing legislation to eliminate free metered parking for the majority of handicapped drivers.
Shoppers abusing handicap parking could find their Black Friday shopping spree a lot more expensive than originally planned.
The fine for illegally using a disabled parking placard or handicap license plates without the person authorized to use those plates or placards present is as much as $500. The cited driver could also face a 30 day suspension of their drivers license.
In addition, the maximum fine for parking in a designated handicap parking space without a placard or handicap plate is $350.
But Secretary White is looking to substantially strengthen penalties for these type of scofflaws by increasing fines and lengthening license suspensions.
Locally, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is on the same track with his proposed legislation to increase fines for illegally using a disabled placard from $200 to between $500 or $1000.
People who see disabled parking abuse can report the incidents several ways.
Sec. of State Website: www.cyberdriveillinois.com
Where they can complete the Parking Program for Persons with Disabilities Abuse Complaint Form.
People reporting abuse should take note of the location of the incident, the license plate of the vehicle and/or the number on the disabled parking placard.