Parking Police Crack Down on Handicap Fraud

Fines are skyrocketing for those who steal spots from disabled
By Zach Samalin,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 8, 2007 3:29 AM CDT
Phillip Shaw, disabled since breaking his back on the job, stands near a handicapped parking sign that says violators will be fined a minimum of $250 Sept. 17, 2007, in Xenia, Ohio. For Shaw, 62, walking...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – People without disabilities who park their cars in handicapped spaces are being slapped with more than just karmic penalties, as local officials and civilian whistle-blowers raise fines and dole out more tickets, the AP reports. With more handicapped placards in circulation than ever, governments are getting savvy to parking fraud.

In some places, citizen volunteers patrol parking lots and dole out tickets; in others, fines have spiked from $40 to $250. Waltham, Mass., police have a special detail dedicated to handicapped-parking offenders that has raked in more than $32,000. "It strikes a nerve with people," says a Massachusetts DMV official. "They are taking spots away from those who really need it."