CSUNPD and DMV enforce the Americans with Disabilities Act

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CSUN police teamed up with 13 investigators from the Department of Motor Vehicles on February 23 to target those misusing Americans with Disabilities Act placards on campus, according to Christina Villalobos, public information officer for CSUN police.

The task force, which also included four CSUN police officers, issued 15 citations for misuse of disabled placards and 12 citations for parking in parking spaces designated for the disabled without a placard.

“Partnerships with the DMV allow us to place a more direct, concentrated effort to target ADA placard violators that would not usually be possible with our resources alone,” Villalobos said in an email. “Able-bodied drivers who misuse a placard and park in an ADA space are inconveniencing and potentially putting at risk those who have the right to lawfully park in those areas.”

The department has been partnering with the DMV since the spring 2005 semester to enforce ADA laws, according to Villalobos.  The department usually brings this task force together once a semester.

“We do know from state statistics that this law is highly abused,” said Captain Alfredo Fernandez, who oversees the department’s traffic safety unit.  The state purposely enforces a hefty fine to discourage people from abusing these laws, he added.

Fines from the citations can run anywhere from $400 to $800 depending on the type of violation and the record of the offender.  It is unknown how much revenue was generated from these violations.  Misuse violations include using someone else’s permit, using stolen permit, or using an altered permit.  The most common violation is the use of another persons permit, Fernandez said.

In addition to strict enforcement, the department tries to educate the public about these laws to prevent violation through training programs.  The recent one-day task force was preceded by several days of education opportunities, Villalobos said.

“We want to educate first,” Fernandez said.  “And if enforcement is the only education that works than we do that as our last option.”

ADA placard laws are always enforced on campus but the task force allows the department to concentrate their efforts once a semester.  This semester’s task force was typical in the number of citations compared to previous terms, according to Fernandez, who said it was a successful operation.

“The best success would be the day we don’t find any [ADA placard] abuse,” Fernandez said.


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