CHICAGO – Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Police Department, in cooperation with Office of the Secretary of State and its police force and the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, today checked 54 vehicles and cited eight motorists for unauthorized use of disability parking placards and two motorists for improper use of handicap plates during an enforcement effort only three days after stricter regulations aimed at curbing the abuses went into effect.
“It is imperative that we protect those who legitimately require a handicap placard for parking in the city. The abuse of disability placards is not acceptable under the law or to taxpayers who are being cheated by those who exploit the laws,” said Mayor Emanuel. “This enforcement effort today sends a clear message that cheating and abuse of placards will not be tolerated in Chicago.”
The alleged violators are now subject to fines ranging from $500 to $1,000. The motorists will face hearings at the Department of Administrative Hearings. Although no vehicles were towed today, 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.
Fifty-four vehicles parked in the downtown area were checked as part of today’s enforcement effort. 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. “The increased rate of abuse prevents people with disabilities from carrying out their activities of daily living and limits their full participation in the community.”
“As Secretary of State, my office is responsible for the issuance of disability placards and license plates under the Parking Program for Persons with Disabilities,” said Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White. “I am pleased to work in collaboration with the City of Chicago and Mayor Emanuel on the implementation of the Impound Ordinance, which sends a strong message that abusing this program will not be tolerated. As I’ve said before, our mission is not to give tickets, but to ensure the disability parking spaces are available to those who need them. Remember -- if you don’t belong there -- don’t park there.”
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 new ordinance passed on December 14, 2012. A similar enforcement operation was held in mid-December and 35 cars were checked and eight citations were issued that day as well. Additional enforcements are planned for 2012.
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