Disabled parking placard violators will pay at least $50 - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Disabled parking placard violators will pay at least $50

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The grace period is now over.

The state of Illinois is launched a serious effort on Thursday, to crack down on people who illegally use handicapped parking placards. Misuse is creating aggravation for people who truly need the parking spots.

New parking placards for the disabled went into effect on Jan. 1, 2014. Mayor Emanuel delayed tickets for 15 days to give people a chance to comply with the new law.

The city began enforcing the new law on Thursday, Jan. 15. Parkers ticketed for violations in Chicago's central business district will be hit with a $65 fine. Violations in other areas will cost $50.

The law allows free metered parking for qualified drivers who were issued yellow and gray placards by the Secretary of State's Office. A person must meet certain criteria to get the new placard, including a doctor's note attesting to the person's disability.

A good rule to remember: "Yellow and gray, you can stay – for free."

The other types of placards, both permanent and temporary, will be good for handicapped spots in parking lots. But people who have these placards will have to pay to park within the handicapped sections of the street.

Bill Bogdan, Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White's disability liaison, explained how the new, tiered system differs from the old disabled parking placard system.

"Under old system, anybody that had that parking placard was exempt from the part meter fees," Bogdan said. "Under the new system, it created a tiered system, if you will, for the permanent disability placards, where in order to be eligible for the meter exempt parking, your disability had to meet a stringent criteria, approved by a licensed physician."

This new system is really changing the numbers. Last year, there were 683,000 people with disability placards in the state of Illinois that could park for free on Chicago streets. Now, 300,000 people have reapplied for placards. But of that number, only 31,000 are eligible for free parking.

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