Crackdown on Handicap Placard Abuse

June 25, 2009 10:12:45 PM PDT
Fresno Police and the Department of Motor Vehicles did a major sweep downtown looking for drivers illegally parking in spaces designated for the disabled.They are prime parking spaces. But these big blue spaces, clearly marked for the disabled, are being misused and abused by drivers who police say don't have any disabilities.

A woman told police during Thursday's sweep in Downtown Fresno that the disabled placard belongs to her passenger's grandmother.

What was supposed to be a quick trip with free parking turned into a long and expensive one. In this case, she and her passenger both got a ticket that could cost up to a $1,000 and up to six months in jail.

Disabled Driver Anna Clayton said, "I think it's a wonderful idea because I can't tell you the number of time I've wanted to pull in to a handicap parking place and it's already taken by somebody who doesn't have the placard."

Anna Clayton has multiple sclerosis. Just getting out of her car takes about 10 minutes. She sees perfectly able people pull into disabled spots all the time.

City of Fresno Parking Manager Del Estabrooke said, "In the past if we contacted 25 people out of those 25 there's probably eight or nine were not authorized to have their placard."

During the sweep ... Fresno Police handed out 14 citations in a three hour period.

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