BOSTON (WWLP) – The Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) is announcing its Placard Abuse Prevention Week, a yearly public service campaign that seeks to bring attention and awareness to the misuse of disability parking placards.
The RMV along with the members of the Massachusetts Disability Placard Abuse Task Force developed the Placard Abuse Prevention Week to inform members of the public about penalties for using fraudulent credentials.
“The RMV takes intentional misuse of disability placards very seriously and we are pleased to set aside a dedicated week to raise awareness of this issue. Placards should only be used by customers who have a documented medical need for this accommodation and require parking spaces which are in close physical proximity to their destinations,” said Acting Registrar of Motor Vehicles Colleen Ogilvie.
22News spoke to one man who uses a parking placard, he said he thankfully hasn’t had much of an issue with people parking in designated spots who aren’t supposed to. “In my experience, and I have a placard, I can’t tell you the last time I saw somebody who was parked in a handicap spot without a placard or without a handicap license. So in my experience it hasn’t been an issue,” Scott Deschain told 22News.
The week will take place from May 3 to May 7 and residents are also encouraged to submit disability parking abuse complaints online.
The Baker-Polito Administration signed into law legislation that imposed a $500 fine for first-time violators and a $1,000 fine for a second violation, increased the driver’s license suspension for a person wrongfully displaying a placard to 60 days for a first offense and 120 days for a second offense.
“Obviously [abusing a placard] it’s inappropriate. That’s why there’s such a high fine for it. Someone who has significant medical issues needs to be close, then [if you abuse a placard] you’re breaking the law. I’m not one to judge but I wouldn’t say that’s the right thing to do,” Deschain continued.
The state has created more distinguishable features of the placards that can be more easily spotted by police. Disability placards in Massachusetts now display a picture of the placard owner and bold expiration dates.
The most common forms of disability placard abuse are:
- Using someone else’s disability placard, or parking in a disabled parking spot with a disability plate.
- Using an expired placard.
- Using an old-style indefinite placard, which has not been valid for use since 2008.
- Making a counterfeit placard, photocopying, or altering an existing one.
Parking in a space designated for Disability Parking, without displaying a disability placard, is a civil citation issued by each town or city, with different fine amounts that vary from city to city. In West Springfield it’s $150.