The Chicago City Council today passed an ordinance introduced by Mayor Rahm Emanuel in November aimed at deterring fraudulent abuse of disability placards by motorists in Chicago. The ordinance will go into effect on January 29, 2012.
“The abuse of the disability placards has gone on for far too long,” said Mayor Emanuel. “I want to thank Alderman Laurino (39th Ward) and Secretary of State Jesse White for their support of these reforms, which will preserve legal on-street parking for motorists with disabilities. With the passage of this ordinance, we are sending a clear message that abuse of placards will not be tolerated in the city of Chicago.”
Under the ordinance, the City will increase fines and authorize the Chicago Police Department to impound vehicles as an additional penalty for using fraudulent placards or misusing a placard of an authorized user.
Specifically, the ordinance would:
Both offenses listed above is subject to impoundment, with a penalty ranging from $1,500 to $3,000, plus towing and storage costs.
“We are responding to longstanding concerns of the disability community on these reforms as a way to address the lack of availability of accessible parking, which has historically been a big problem,” said Karen Tamley, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities. “These penalties will give us another tool to prevent the fraudulent use and misuse of disability placards and will also serve as a financial disincentive to those who would illegally park in spots designated for people with disabilities or at meters.”
As the current levels of abuse indicate, the fines currently in place are not a deterrent.
In recent years, the problem has become worse due to the availability of fraudulent and altered parking placards for purchase over the internet.
The fraudulent use and misuse of placards also negatively impacts businesses. When individuals fraudulently use disabled parking placards all day, it reduces turnover and parking spots available to potential customers.
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