Fine for Misusing Handicap Placard Up to $740 in San Diego

The San Diego City Council gave final approval Tuesday to a new law increasing the penalty for an able-bodied driver who uses a handicap placard issued to someone else.

The new fine is $740, up from $452.50.

On Tuesday, the city council also approved another ordinance cracking down on handicap placard abuse.

This new law classifies placard abuse as a parking violation, instead of a criminal misdemeanor. Doing so will allow parking enforcement officers, not just police, to issue citations for placard misuse.

According to a San Diego Police Department study, officers currently write about 400 misdemeanor citations a year for placard misuse. That number is expected to increase with parking enforcement officers now also being able to cite drivers.

An NBC 7 Investigation found some drivers, including local government employees, using disabled placards issued to their relatives, which the DMV says is illegal.

Click here to see the full investigation.

The San Diego Police Department estimates, 60 percent of placards issued in California are being misused by able-bodied drivers, and that “flagrant and willful misuse of placard(s) has increased substantially.”

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