Illinois Drivers misusing disability parking placards under check

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White announced a new set of stings Tuesday to try to catch drivers misusing disability parking placards. Secretary of state’s police will be stationed at shopping malls in Marion, Rockford, Schaumburg and Springfield. Police will check placards on parked cars to make sure they match the assigned license plates, said Bill Bogdan, disability liaison to the secretary of state’s office.

They also will pull over drivers who get into cars parked in disability spaces, he said. To use a disability placard legally, the person who received the placard must be in the vehicle and have gotten in and out of the vehicle when it was parked, Bogdan said.

“There’s no excuse for people who said, `I didn’t know that,”‘ Bogdan said.

Police conducted a similar sting Saturday at Soldier Field during the Chicago Bears game and plan other crackdowns through the holiday season, White said.

“Our mission is not to give tickets, but to ensure the parking spaces are available to those who need them,” White said in a statement. “My message today is simple: If you don’t belong there, don’t park there.”

White said his Safe Driver Advisory Council also would consider new ways to target scofflaws and ensure placards are used correctly.

There’s a $500 fine for illegally using a placard or disability license plates. Fines for wrongly parking in a disability space can go up to $350.

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