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Disabled Parking Signs Abused

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Original Title:
Increase in Disabled Placards Points to Abuse

A disabled placard is a removable windshield sign that is to be hung from the rearview mirror of a parked vehicle in order to park in disabled parking spaces. The placard must be used ONLY when a physically disabled person is the occupant of the motor vehicle at the time of parking or when the physically disabled person is being dropped-off or picked-up.

Parking officials say an increase in the number of people using disabled placards is pointing to abuse in the system of issuing the placards.

Not only do people who have the placards get to use parking spots meant for those with disabilities, but they don't have to put money into meters.

About one in 16 motorists in California carry the signs -- more than double the number who had them a decade ago.

A spokesman for the Department of Motor Vehicles says an aging population, a broader definition of the disabilities that qualify drivers for the privilege, as well as abuse of the system are all contributing to the increase.

The DMV can't say how much fraud there is in the system. But last year it canceled more than 25,000 permits when it ran a check and found the people they had been issued to had died.

Abuse of the program is upsetting advocates for people with disabilities. They're concerned access to the program might be limited because of misuse.

(This story was provided by News10 KXTV Sacramento.)

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