DMV Cracks Down on Disabled Placard Misuse in Undercover Sweep

Drivers in the East County were surprised Wednesday when officers approached them to check whether or not their disabled placards were valid. 

With 2.7 million placards issued in California, it can be difficult to find a handicapped parking space. Adding to that difficulty are the countless drivers who misuse them.

So the DMV is cracking down, doing sweeps across the state.

It's an issue the NBC 7 Investigates team has been following closely for years now.

The undercover operation happened at the Walmart parking lot in El Cajon.

California DMV officers were enforcing the proper use of disabled placards and licenses.

Able-bodied people who park in disabled parking spaces, using someone else's placard or driving someone's vehicle with a disabled plate must have the disabled person with them.

Fines range from $250 dollars to $1,000.

A series of NBC 7 Investigates reports prompted state lawmakers to request an independent audit of the DMV's disabled placard program.

The California State Auditor released a report in April, saying the DMV needed to do more to prevent fraud.

One resident drives his disabled mother and says he's grateful the DMV is taking action.

Of the 226 placards verified during today's enforcement operation in the El Cajon area, DMV investigators issued 10 misdemeanor citations for fraudulent use.

In two cases, the persons cited were using placards assigned to their spouses. Another person used a placard assigned to one of her children who was not in the vehicle.

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