White Seeking New Ways To Crack Down On Disabled Parking Abuse

CHICAGO (CBS) — Amid recent reports of widespread abuse, Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White is looking for ways crack down on those who illegally use handicapped placards or license plates to get free parking.

WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports White threw out some ideas at the first meeting of a new traffic safety advisory panel.

The secretary has named former U.S. Transportation Secretary Sam Skinner to head a sub-committee that will study the problem and come up with recommendations.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports

One that Skinner says might work: using new technology to catch cheaters.

“Permits that can be read electronically. License plates can be read. They could be matched together. We can use computer programs to model where these people are parking and whether or not they’re genuine and we can match it up against people that have the permits, who’s the doctor that issued the permits,” Skinner said. “There’s all kind of things you can do with technology.”

Skinner said he’s open to all ideas, but seemed to be leaning against one lawmaker’s idea of ending free on-street parking for all but a few of the disabled.

“I was with President (George H.W.) Bush in ’91 and ’92 when we passed the Disabilities Act. President Bush … thinks that’s one of his most important things that he did. Parking for the handicapped was an important part of that bill. We want to make sure it works in Illinois,” Skinner said.

As a first step, White has proposed toughening the penalties for abusers, although he conceded that the biggest problem is lax enforcement.

More from Regine Schlesinger
  • Wolf

    Do something meaningful cut your bloated operation and half and save the taxpayers money…what a complete incompetent here…

  • Just Axin

    First Step: Do not issue to black people
    Second Step: See 1st step


    Has anyone really looked at the patterns these people have?
    You should consider having the traffic / meter police who patrol the loop area watching shopping mall, grocery store, medical facilities, and strip mall parking lots. In trying to enforce this, you should also consider that most of the abuse in commercial areas would be confined to afternoon and evening hours Monitoring the license plates and tag numbers electronically makes sense, but why not include the drivers license photo from the person who gets the permit on the permit itself? This would allow the monitor to see who actually is driving the car at the time of the violation and if it is in fact the person who the permit was issued.
    I also think the fine should be significantly raised and the permit revoked for violators and especially for repeated violations. You might also consider issuing fines to the doctors who sign off on the permits that really don’t qualify.
    I can’t tell you how many times I have seen someone get out of a Mercedes or BMW SUV in heels and run from the disabled space to the convenient store or BigBox store in the suburbs with seemingly no regret. I am also amazed at the number of people who park in the disabled spaces WITHOUT even having the permit.

    • Afro


      The placards are registered to the individual not to the vehicle. The individual doesn’t have to be in the vehicle at the time it parks in the handicap spot. The individual must either be exiting the vehicle or coming out to the vehicle or both exit and returning. The placard is transferable to any vehicle the handicap rider is in. I have a handicap tag on my van and I have a placard that I use when my son takes me in his van or truck. Makes sense because my son doesn’t need a handicap placard but just because I’m in his vehicle doesn’t stop me from needing my wheelchair either

  • It's all about $$$$$$$$$$

    Disabled parking fraud has been going on for decades and is still ongoing—until money is involved, i.e., the parking meter fiasco.

  • Afro

    I hate when a car load of young black teenagers whip into the handicap spot I was gently pulling into then about 4 black teens jump out laughing and runnig to the store. Handicap spots are not that big of deal but the ones that allow me extra space to lower my lift are quite helpfull as cars parked next to me block it and I have to have the lift to drive my power chair out of the van. I hope they find away to stop the cheats.

  • Jen

    Handicap placards state (on them) that they can be used in any car that the disabled person is riding in, entering/exiting the vehicle. So how is this ever going to be enforced? Because if the license plate & permit number don’t match up the owner of the car will be fined. Maybe the criteria for getting a handicap permit should be reexamined. It seems they hand them out like candy. I’m sorry, but if you’re morbidly obese that warrants premiere parking? When walking the extra yards could be beneficial. Being fat is a handicap? Only in America.

  • Reli-Abilities

    People will continue to abuse HP spaces and plaque cards until they feel it in the wallet. Another problem is getting police depts to enforce HP laws. Asking police to enforce the HP laws, while on routine patrol and not involved in emergency needs, is like pulling teeth in some cities or towns! Its often in the culture of the community, where one finds a lack of understanding, respect and requirement for proper Access for Individuals with Disabilities!

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