Police crack down on illegal handicapped parking

The Wilton Police Department issued four tickets for handicapped parking violations during a two-week enforcement period that ended Nov. 19, including one ticket to an individual who was using a placard issued to a parent who had died.

More importantly, the department made business and enforcement contacts to prevent violations in the future, said Capt. Robert Cipolla, spokesman for the department.

That shows how it was an educational campaign as well as enforcement duty.

“During the period officers of the department made a total of 60 business contacts providing informational flyers on how to properly mark a handicapped parking space on their property,” Cipolla said in a statement.

Officers also made a total of 14 enforcement contacts during the period.

Although  the campaign has concluded, the department will continue its enforcement of handicapped parking violations, said Cipolla.

He said the department had received reports of improper usage of handicap spaces in town.

“The campaign is reactive in the sense that we are addressing concerns related to us by the public, but proactive in regarding educating local property owners and enforcement,” Cipolla said.

The law specifies that it does not allow a state resident with a disability to park in an area that is reserved for handicap parking if he or she does not display the special plate or placard on or in their vehicle, Cipolla said.

“Handicap placards and vehicles bearing a special license plate may not use a handicap parking space unless the vehicle is being driven by or carrying a passenger to whom the placard or plate were issued,” Cipolla said.

People who have been issued a handicap placard must display it as follows: The placard must be hung from the front windshield rearview mirror when using a handicap parking space.If there is no rearview mirror, the placard must be placed in clear view on the dashboard.

Connecticut General Statute 14-253a is enforceable on public and private property and states that any person who parks a motor vehicle in a designated parking spot reserved for exclusive use by blind persons or persons with disabilities and does not display either a special license plate, a license plate displaying the international symbol of access, a removable windshield placard, or a placard that is the same as a removable windshield placard except that the international symbol of access appears on a red background is guilty of an infraction.

Fine Amounts are $150 for the first offense, $250 for the second offense, and as a third offense, a vehicle may be impounded until the fine is paid.

The use of a handicap placard or a special license plate issued to a person that is deceased is punishable by a $500 fine.  In addition, all handicap parking permits expire and require a renewal fee, even lifetime permits.