BALTIMORE (WJZ) — If you pull into a handicapped space to run into a store and you’re not disabled, it will cost you.
Suzanne Collins reports the city’s fine has doubled and a crackdown is underway.
Going to the hardware store is a big effort for Michael Ramey and there’s nothing more infuriating than when he can’t find a handicapped parking space.
“The worst [thing is when you] see somebody get out, 30-years-old, skip on in the store and you don’t have anywhere to park other than nine miles away. Frustrated like you wouldn’t believe,” Ramey said.
Parking enforcement and MVA investigators caught people parking illegally in handicapped spaces Wednesday. Placards are checked to be sure the handicapped person is actually in the car.
“A lot of times, people are deceased and family members continue to use that placard rather than turning it in,” said MVA investigator John Harkins.
And then there are the ones who don’t even fake it.
“I see a lot of people who do not have placards or tags parking in the handicapped spot and a lot of them won’t even move when they see you need the spot,” said Dwight Daughton, Commission on Disabilities.
In September, the city raised handicapped parking fines from $250 to $500. Since, they have issued 519 tickets.
An MVA investigation says the black market price for handicapped placards right now is anywhere from $25 to $80. People can get that higher price, especially on a college campus where parking is at a premium.
One woman with a disabling back condition learned that the hard way.
“I’ve had my placard stolen at least twice—my car window broken out and placard removed and taken,” said Sheryl Harrison.
One handicapped driver thinks there’s widespread abuse.
“You come in here, there will be a van like that with ladders on top, the guy’s got a handicap sticker, the guy’s loading sheetrock,” said Kevin Ray.
There is also a crackdown on handicapped parking violations going on in Anne Arundel County, according to police there.