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Illinois Police Crack Down on Disabled Parking Placard Violations During Holiday Shopping

As shoppers pack parking lots for holiday shopping, authorities are on the lookout for people illegally using disabled placards and parking spots. On Black Friday, officers with the Illinois Secretary of State Police were in an area mall parking lot, enforcing the disability placard program. “We’re actually just checking the placard, you know at its face value and making sure that the placard actually in the person with a placard belongs to our here, utilizing current parking space,” explained Sgt. Joe Tieri with the Secretary of State Police. In Illinois, approximately 521,000 residents possess a permanent placard that allows them to park in designated spaces. Placard holders were especailly grateful for the enforcement, on a day as busy as Black Friday. “I think it’s good idea that the police are here to check on your placard to make sure everything is legal,” said Pat Pedersen, a placard holder. For the most part, shoppers do respect that the spots are only for disabled. However, according to the Secretary of State’s office, approximately 40 tickets are issued each December. Police have issued as many as 220 tickets in one season. Drivers caught misusing a placard face a six-month driver’s license suspension and a $600 fine. The fine for parking in an accessible spot without a disability placard or license plates can be up to $350. “They’re steep fines,” said Tieri. “…Rather see that money go to Christmas gifts instead of paying penalties.”

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