BRIDGEWATER, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Bridgewater police have written hundreds of tickets worth $163,000 this year to drivers for allegedly using handicap parking placards that belong to dead relatives.
Increased technology in police cars, patricularly Motor Data Terminals, allow officers to check an expired tag as quickly as they can run a license plate.
1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg with Police Chief Richard Borden
“This whole process could’ve taken say seven to 10 years ago might’ve taken a half hour or an hour to track down,” Police Chief Richard Borden told 1010 WINS.
The alleged abuse of handicap parking placards has reached “epidemic proportions.”
“The numbers involved here with people doing something that is 100 percent illegal to do truly amazes us,” Borden said.
The town is a “target rich environment” because it is home to one of New Jersey’s largest malls and several major shopping centers, Borden said.
He believes the abuse of handicap passes comes down to a combination of insensitivity and laziness.
“With a lot of the people I think it’s just a lack of sensitivity to people that are handicapped and disabled and should be in the space,” he said. “It comes down to laziness. People just don’t want to park 10 rows up when they can park in a handicapped spot and obviously they can save time by running into a shopping center or mall and then run out.”
As of last week, officers issued 451 handicap parking summonses worth $256 a piece, and 340 improper use of handicap placard and 27 improper placard display summonses each worth $56. Court costs are an additional $33 a ticket.
“With the holidays coming, and obviously we all know how tough it is to park around a mall or shopping center, we anticipate more abuse of this,” Borden said.
State Motor Vehicle Commission records show 446,769 people were registered for a handicap parking placard as of June 4.
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