Online Staff Report
Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White announced that the Secretary of State Police issued 31 citations over the Thanksgiving weekend during a statewide crackdown on people who illegally park in accessible parking spaces at local malls. The enforcement kicked off on Black Friday, Nov. 25, and will continue through the end of December.
Nine people were issued tickets for improper use of a disability parking space or parking in a disability space without a placard or license plate over the holiday weekend. Twenty-two people were cited with misuse of a disability parking placard, or using someone else’s placard. Eighteen placards were confiscated and a total of 367 placards were checked.
Secretary of State Police were out enforcing the provisions of the Parking Program for Persons with Disabilities at Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg as well as at malls in Rockford, Springfield and Marion Nov. 25, the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season and the busiest shopping day of the year. Enforcements also took place in Bolingbrook, Lombard, Orland Park, Skokie, Carbondale, Peoria and Champaign.
“I’m pleased with the results of the disability parking enforcement efforts,” said White. “As I’ve said before, our mission is not to give tickets, but to ensure the disability parking spaces are available to those who need them. This weekend shows that people are getting the message — if you don’t belong there — don’t park there.”
When the holiday enforcements began in 2005, more than 200 people were cited for violating the program.
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.
Secretary 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 issued in Illinois.