Police focus on disabled parking abuse

Aston Tan

The CSUN Police Department is cracking down on people who abuse handicapped placards.

The fraudulent use of these signs ‘- legally issued to disabled individuals through a medical certificate – is a statewide issue that has been reflected in the CSUN population.

‘For some years, this particular violation is considered to be on of the most abused laws in the state and that’s enough to be a problem,’ said Capt. Alfredo Fernandez of the Department of Public Safety.

CSUN police records indicate 64 incidents from August 2007 to September 2008.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles and the campus police have since established a joint task force to tackle the issue.

Under the program, focus is directed on able-bodied persons that show no signs of disability yet park in the spots conspicuously marked with blue paint.

Police officers patrol the parking structures and verify displayed placards to determine whether or not they have been legitimately issued.

In the spring of 2006, four CSUN police officers and 20 investigators from California’s Department of Motor Vehicles apprehended and cited fifteen drivers on campus in a joint effort.

Offenders face the possibilities of heavy fines, probation and community service when misusing a handicapped placard.

‘When an authorized user lends their card to someone else, the placards are non-transferable. When a mother has a placard and passes it to their sons, that’s a form of abuse,’ said Fernandez, describing the modus operandi. ‘The DMV could revoke the placard,’ he added.

Fernandez said the unwitting parent who genuinely needs the sign could lose legitimate use of it.

On June 9, the Boston Globe reported the story of a man who used his dead mother’s placard in all of his four luxury automobiles and was caught in a citywide crackdown. A Canadian paper also reported, on Sept. 10, a dispute between those petitioning for free handicapped parking in the city and those against the motion. One of the cases used against the motion was the fear that placard abuse cases would go up.

‘I think it is an immoral thing,’ said CSU Long Beach senior, Yohei Ueno, who was issued a temporary placard after a snowboarding accident last year. ‘For 2 months, I was in difficulty. I can’t image how it must be for someone to need this service and not be able to use it because of misusers.’