New law cracks down on disability parking violators

December 30, 2012 (CHICAGO)

The new law makes abuse and fraud of placards and disability license plates a misdemeanor.

"We have a lot of individuals who insist upon using someone else's disability placard or parking their car in place that have been set aside for those who are truly disabled, and I look upon that as a violation of all laws of human decency for you to be abled-bodied, but you want to take advantage of a law set aside for those who are not," said Illinois Sec. of State Jesse White.

White is getting tough with this new law.

"A $2,500 fine for anyone who uses a deceased person's disability placard," he said. "And if, by chance, you get caught using an individual's placard for the first time, then it's a $500 fine, and you lose your license for six months."

"For the second offense it's $1,000 fine, and you lose your license for a one-year period of time," Secretary White added. "For the third offense, its a $1, 000 fine, and your license is revoked, which means you have to go to the administrative hearing department to get permission to get back on the road again."

"The other thing that's really unique about the change in the law is we now will have the to ability to suspend the driver license on a local ordinance ticket," said Bill Bogdan, disability liaison. "Under the old law, you actually needed to be issued a state citation in order to receive the driver license suspension."

Both White and Bogdan know this is an ongoing challenge.

"Significant changes to this program year after year, and we're always looking for innovative ways that we can work at reducing the fraud and the abuse of this program," said Bogdan.

If you abuse a disability placards or a license plate, there's a higher price to pay.

"It's a class a misdemeanor," Bogdan said.

"If you don't belong there, don't park there," said White.

The Secretary of State works with law enforcements, and the disability community on tracking down abusers. They also contact physicians about approving placards for people who do not qualified.

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