Thousands of motorists in California have been cited over the past year as officials crack down on drivers using disabled parking placards that were not issued to them.
Aggressive enforcement led authorities to cite 2,485 drivers across the state for fraudulent placard use and illegally parking in disabled spots since last July, the state Department of Motor Vehicles said Thursday.
That’s 860 more citations than the previous year, and amounts to one in 10 drivers with whom DMV officials interacted, according to spokesman Jaime Garza.
An operation at the Glendale Galleria this March resulted in the citation of one if five vehicles checked.
Those who are caught have their placard taken away and must pay a fine of $250 to $1,000. The offense will also show up on their driver record.
Last September alone, 555 citations were issued, which is attributed to beefed up enforcement at the Los Angeles County Fair. Another uptick in April is linked to a crackdown at the Coachella and Stagecoach musical festivals in Indio, officials said.
As many as 24 enforcement operations were held each month, and officials intend to keep aggressively monitoring the placards until drivers stop abusing them, Garza said.
“We are going to keep up our enforcement efforts until Californians stop fraudulently using disabled person parking placards,” he said. “When you illegally use a disabled person parking placard, you disrupt the lives of those with disabilities and you interfere with their mobility.”