Jesse White targets holiday shoppers abusing disability parking laws at malls
Online Staff Report
Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White has directed the Secretary of State Police to conduct a statewide enforcement effort to crack down on people who illegally park in accessible parking spaces at local malls, which kicks off on Black Friday, Nov. 25. In addition, White is having his Safe Driver Advisory Council, which was established this month, to consider ways to improve the disability parking program and target scofflaws.
Secretary of State Police will be out enforcing the provisions of the Parking Program for Persons with Disabilities at CherryVale Mall in Cherry Valley, Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg as well as at malls in Springfield and Marion Nov. 25, the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season and the busiest shopping day of the year. Other enforcements will take place during the holiday season in Chicago and the suburbs, as well as across the state of Illinois.
November has been declared as Accessible Parking Awareness Month in Illinois.
“Our mission is not to give tickets, but to ensure the parking spaces are available to those who need them,” White said. “My message today is simple — if you don’t belong there, don’t park there.”
In addition, White announced he will instruct his Safe Driver Advisory Council, which was established by the General Assembly earlier this month, to consider ways to improve the disability parking program, strengthen penalties and target repeat scofflaws. The council, which is meeting in January, will look at toughening penalties for those who abuse the program. White has asked the council to look at $2,500 fines for those using a deceased person’s placard, increased fines and longer suspensions.
The fine for illegally using a placard or disability license plates without the authorized holder of the placard or disability license plates present is a maximum of $500. In addition, violators can be subject to a 30-day administrative driver’s license suspension from the Secretary of State for the first offense.
The fine for parking in an accessible parking space without a parking placard or disability license plates can be as much $350.
White urged people to report abuse of accessible parking spaces by calling (217) 785-0309. Callers should be prepared to report placard and license plate numbers as well as locations of vehicles. People can also report abuse via the Secretary of State’s website at www.cyberdriveillinois.com and complete the Parking Program for Persons with Disabilities Abuse Complaint Form.
More than 577,030 placards and approximately 82,050 disability license plates are in circulation in Illinois.
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