Insensitive drivers in San Francisco who think they can get away with parking in a handicapped spot with an illegal parking placard could be slapped with higher fines come 2010. The City is now considering attaching a fine of $825 for those who violate the law.
California recently passed a law allowing cities to hike fines for disabled parking placard offenders up to $1,000 -- that's 10 times higher than the current fine in San Francisco. Fines for blocking blue zones and wheelchair ramps could also be hiked by 10 percent.
Licensed users of state-issued handicapped parking placards are also allowed to park in the marked spots and metered spaces for free. Assemblywoman Fiona Ma introduced the fee hike legislation and says disabled placards -- incuding fake ones that look just like the real thing -- can go for $250 on Craigslist, according to our friends at the Examiner.
It might seem like a good idea to some to park a blue spot at the front of a store to "just run in real quick." After all, they're displaying a disabled tag on the rear-view mirror. But what those lazy people fail to realize or are just too selfish to think about is that the spot they're parking in illegally is possibly the only place for someone who uses a wheelchair or has some other mobility issue to park and get into an establishment safely.
Simply placing the placard on the mirror to get a more convenient or free parking should be punished -- and heavily.
City officials say parking revenues also benefit Muni's transit operations, according to the Examiner.
The Municipal Transportation Agency enforces all parking throughout the City and will consider the tougher fines on Jan. 5.
If you spot disabled placard abuse, there's a high-tech way to help report it -- via an app, of course. With the Handicapped Fraud app, people who spot someone suspected of abusing a disabled parking placard, they can report the license number of the placard and the license plate of the car directly to the DMV. There's even a way to snap a picture of the tag and spot in question and send it in along with the complaint.