"It's deceitful, it's cheating, it's against the law and it's hurting those who truly need them," - DMV Investigator & AMVIC President Kenny Ehrman
Anyone with the need for disabled parking knows the frustration, finding a reserved parking space open and available is difficult at best. With more than 2.5 million disabled parking permits issued in California, it is a case of too many placard holders and not enough disabled parking spaces to meet the demand. Adding to the problem are the able-bodied fraudulent users who use the placards to park close to a location, park for free, and park for an unlimited amount of time.
With a growing number of complaints being filed with the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), DMV investigators went to work in a statewide sting October 16, 2013. Investigators went to high traffic areas, such as shopping malls, universities and business districts. They approached drivers who parked in disabled parking spaces to verify the disabled placard displayed was actually theirs. What they found amounted to hundreds of violators.
"It's deceitful, it's cheating, it's against the law and it's hurting those who truly need them," said DMV Investigator & Association of Motor Vehicle Investigators of California (AMVIC) President Kenny Ehrman. "We confiscate the placard , issue a citation and make them move their vehicle. If you have a disabled placard displayed in your vehicle , you had better have a disabled person with you, a person in which that placard has been issued to."
241 citations were issued in the sting:
- San Francisco Bay Area (San Francisco, Hayward) - 25
- Central California (Fresno, Bakersfield, Stockton) - 43
- Northern Region (Roseville, Sacramento, Santa Rosa, Vallejo) - 15
- Inland Region (Riverside, San Bernardino) - 14
- Valley Region (Granada Hills, Lincoln Park, Ventura) - 34
- Southern Region (San Diego, Mission Valley, Chula Vista) -30
- Orange County Region (Anaheim, Irvine) - 19
- Midland Region (El Monte, West Covina, LA Metro) -43
- Pacific Region (Artesia, Southbay, Culver City) -18
"One fraudulent disabled placard user is one too many," said Alan Barcelona, president of the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA). "Our CSLEA members who are investigators at DMV target this crime year-round, a statewide sting helps draw attention to the problem. Fraudulent users will pull curbside at a premium, time limited, parking spot, not put a dime in the meter and park their all day."
Things to know about disabled placards - It is illegal to:
- Lend your disabled person parking (DP) placard to another person. DP placards are not transferable.
- Forge a physician’s signature to obtain a DP placard
- Use someone else’s DP placard
- Possess or display a counterfeit placard
- Provide false information to obtain a placard
- Alter a placard or a placard identification card
Another item of note, said Ehrman, "These Disabled Person Parking Placards (DPPP) are commonly lost or stolen when vehicles are left unattended at car washes and valet parking. Unsuspecting victims leave their vehicles behind only to find the placards have been stolen. The placards are sold on the streets to anyone who wants the ability to park in metered parking for free."