DMV crackdown on handicap placard abuse

FRESNO, Calif.

Investigators say Downtown Fresno is a problem area mainly because of all the meters and parking inconvenience. Thursday, many people who used someone else's placard paid for it.

If you pulled into a handicapped stall in Fresno Thursday, there's a good chance investigators were watching you. DMV officials say they've been getting constant complaints from people who believe others are misusing the blue and red signs.

Fresno resident Peggy Morgan says she's seen plenty questionable users. "I have seen a lot of people who look like there's not a thing wrong with them and I've wondered."

Thursday investigators found plenty of violators who were using someone else's card to either park for free or get a better spot.

DMV Investigator, Tom Wilson said, "Unfortunately today we had one person that indicated he was using his father's but indicated they should have their own but haven't applied for it yet so they they could obtain parking at the courthouse, as well we had another people who were using a handicap placard and when the placard was reviewed it was determined that the owner of the placard was deceased."

All morning and into the afternoon undercover investigators stood in parking stalls watching as people pulled into handicap stalls. Agents studied their moves before any motorists were approached and asked to prove the placard was issued to them.

"When we see people parked in handicap stalls we look for any outward disability, if we see that we don't bother contacting those parties," said Wilson. "However, there are some where we're just not sure so by law and the vehicle code we have the opportunity to go up and ask them if the placard belongs to them."

The law is intended to make it more convenient for people who are handicapped to park. But since there are so many abusers, many who need the blue spots say many times, they are all occupied.

"I think it's really important because there's a lot of people that need these spaces."

The fine is close to $300.00 for the first offense. Throughout the Central California area 27 tickets were issued during the zero tolerance enforcement.

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