SACRAMENTO – Despite a widespread educational campaign and the spotlight on enforcement operations, people continue to fraudulently use disabled parking placards to gain a convenient parking space. On March 28, 2018, California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) investigators conducted an enforcement operation in downtown Fresno and found 10 out of the 91 people they contacted to verify proper use of a placard, were breaking the law and using a placard that did not belong to them. During a similar enforcement effort in North Highlands on March 29, 2018, investigators cited 16 of the 142 drivers they contacted.
“The placard doesn’t belong to the car it’s in, it doesn’t belong to a relative of a disabled person, it belongs to the person it is issued to,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. “Abuse of these placards has gone on too long and I applaud the work of these DMV investigators.”
Statewide, DMV investigators have issued 1,664 citations between July 1, 2017 and February 28, 2018.
Offenders must appear in court to face possible fines that range from $250 to $1,000 and risk having a notation placed on their driver record. Individuals assigned a disabled parking placard are the only people allowed to use one – anyone else is breaking the law.
“The DMV is committed to searching out drivers who misuse disabled parking placards and hamper the mobility of our disabled community,” said DMV Director Jean Shiomoto. “Our goal is to have our proactive enforcement operations combined with our aggressive education efforts will result in more people complying with the law. I ask you to save the space.”
The DMV has implemented new procedures aimed at reducing disabled parking placard fraud. Disabled parking placard applicants must now provide proof of their true full name and birthdate. Placard holders are now limited to four replacements without a medical recertification every two years and they must submit a renewal notice every six years beginning with placards that expire in June 2023. Currently, permanent disabled parking placards expire in June 2019 and are automatically renewed every two years.
Individuals who suspect disabled parking placard misuse are urged to inform the DMV by using an online complaint form or contacting their local DMV Investigations office. It is important to note that some qualifying disabilities are not visually apparent, and allegations of misuse might be unfounded.