Governor signs law to toughen penalties for fraud and abuse of disability parking

Online Staff Report

Legislation proposed by Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White (D) to crack down on fraud and abuse of the state’s disability parking programs was signed into law July 23 by Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D).

House Bill 5056, sponsored by State Rep. John D’Amico, D-Chicago, and State Sen. Martin Sandoval, D-Cicero, will toughen penalties for those who abuse parking privileges designed to assist people with disabilities.

The message we are sending is simple: if you don’t belong there, don’t park there,” said White. “Stronger penalties will hopefully make people think twice before they deprive a person with a disability from using a disability parking spot. I want to thank Gov. Quinn for signing this important piece of legislation into law.”

White first initiated the legislation at a public hearing at the first meeting of his Advisory Committee on Traffic Safety — a committee to make Illinois roads safer, reduce traffic fatalities and to consider increased penalties for those who blatantly disregard traffic laws.

House Bill 5056 seeks to strengthen the penalty for using a placard and/or disability license plates in which the person is now deceased, which under current law falls under the category of general misuse of a placard or plate. The legislation creates a new offense for this egregious act, making it a class A misdemeanor, which carries a minimum one-year driver’s license revocation and a $2,500 fine.

In addition, the license suspension periods for general misuse of a disability license plate or placard will be increased from 30 days to a six-month suspension for a first offense; from six months to a one-year suspension for a second offense; and from a one-year suspension to a minimum one-year revocation for a third offense.

A license revocation requires the offender to meet with a Secretary of State Administrative Hearing officer at the end of their revocation period before driving privileges may be restored.

White is committed to conducting a top-to-bottom review of the state’s Parking Program for Person’s with Disabilities. He has formed a subcommittee to outline ways to eliminate fraud and abuse of this vital program. White tabbed former U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Sam Skinner to serve as chairman of the subcommittee, which is set to meet Aug. 7 in Chicago.

The goal of the subcommittee is to eliminate fraud and misuse, and to ensure that disability parking spots are available for those truly in need,” said White.

Posted July 23, 2012

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