CSUN police recently worked with Department of Motor Vehicle investigators to arrest people who illegally used disabled driver parking permits at CSUN parking lots.
Christina Villalobos, CSUN Police Department spokesperson, said the investigation was conducted in response to complaints from disabled students and the CSUN police.
Fifteen drivers at CSUN were cited in connection with fraudulent use of disabled parking permits late March, Villalobos said.
“Hopefully it is a deterrent to people (who misuse permits)” she said, adding that she hopes the investigation raises awareness on campus.
Investigations of illegal use of the permits are only done when people call either CSUN PD or the DMV, Villalobos said.
Illegal use of disabled driver placards is a continuing issue for the CSUN PD, even when there is not a DMV investigation.
“We don’t just enforce it when the DMV comes in,” Villalobos said. “It’s just a day-to-day issue for the police department.”
Mike Miller, DMV spokesperson, said illegal use of placards is a serious issue for the DMV.
“We respond to these types of complaints not just because they’re complaints, but because it’s a crime,” Miller said.
The most common form of fraudulent disabled-placard use comes from people using permits they received from acquaintances, Miller said.
“It could be someone’s friend or relative that is disabled,” he said.
Fines for using the placards illegally carry high fines and possible jail time.
People who knowingly use disabled parking permits but are not disabled face long-term consequences if caught, Miller said.
“I think it is incredibly stupid and shortsighted (for people to illegally use the placards),” Miller said.
Mary Ann Cummins-Prager, director of CSUN’s Center on Disabilities, said police should check for illegal use of placards to enforce the law.
“I know how grateful people with disabilities are about the law being enforced,” Cummins-Prager said. “Clearly the police are finding violators.”
People who take parking spots hamper the ability of disabled students to get around campus and to class on time, Cummins-Prager said.
“It really impedes their ability to get to class if people are taking ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) parking spaces illegally,” Cummins-Prager said.
Part of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 requires employers to make available parking spaces for disabled people, according to the ADA web site.
Cummins-Prager said she was most concerned about the access a person has to get into and out of parking spaces when someone has a medical emergency.
“I have heard of people who have had medical emergencies who have not been able to get in or out of their parking spaces,” Cummins-Prager said. “I think it’s more than an inconvenience for people with disabilities. It is potentially life-threatening.”
Joseph Wilson can be reached at email@example.com.