City of Chicago, Secretary of State Announce Results of Large-Scale, Coordinated Sting Operations to Crack Down on Disability Placard Abuse
Motorists Cited During Enforcement Actions Since Effort Launched in August; Goal of Operation is to End Fraud and Abuse
CHICAGO –Mayor Rahm Emanuel, in coordination with the Chicago Police Department, Secretary of State Jesse White and the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, today announced that 41 disability placards have been confiscated and 47 citations issued during 20 coordinated stings since a large-scale effort to end disability placard abuse began on August 24, 2012.
“We continue to be vigilant in our enforcement of parking laws designed to protect those who legitimately require a disability placard for parking in the city,” said Mayor Emanuel. “This coordinated effort will find and penalize those who would dare commit fraud with a fake or stolen disability placard. I am proud that we have worked with the Secretary of State to strengthen the law in this area as it is not acceptable to taxpayers who are being cheated by scofflaws.”
“Working in conjunction with Mayor Emanuel and the City of Chicago, we have enacted tougher penalties and people should think twice about parking in a space that is set aside for those people with disabilities,” said Jesse White, Secretary of State.
The alleged violators are now subject to fines ranging from $500 to $1,000. Penalties for motorists found to be fraudulently using disability placards are subject to immediate impoundment and a fine of $1,500 to $3,000 plus towing and storage costs. The owner of any vehicle that violates the proper and legal use of a disability placard is also subject to a $200 fine.
During the enforcement efforts, 234 vehicles parked in the downtown area were checked. Enforcement action requires that officers identify a motorist as they park their car to make certain the use of the placard is authorized.
“The availability of accessible parking has long been a serious issue for the disability community,” said Commissioner Karen Tamley, of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities. “Any abuse is illegal and prevents people with disabilities from carrying out their activities of daily living and limits their full participation in the community.”
“I am pleased that Commissioner Tamley is serving on our Advisory Committee on Traffic Safety to help us further crack down on fraud and abuse of this vital program,” said Secretary White.
In addition, the fraudulent use of placards also negatively impacts businesses. When individuals fraudulently use disabled parking placards all day, it reduces turnover and parking spot available to potential customers.
The strengthened ordinance passed on December 14, 2011.
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