Stiffer fines for illegal disabled parking permit use under new bill

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by TERESA YUAN / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @TeresaYuan

KING5.com

Posted on March 19, 2013 at 12:28 PM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 19 at 12:40 PM

OLYMPIA, Wash. – State senators will hear a House bill Tuesday which increases fines and sets new guidelines against people who use disabled parking permits illegally.

Seattle City Council members and Seattle police say as many as 50 percent of disabled placards are being used illegally around the city.

“Parking is expensive in Seattle. If you can get your hands on one of these and not get caught, you're saving a bunch of money," said Rep. Sam Hunt, D-Olympia, who sponsors the bill. Hunt drafted the bill with input from Seattle city leaders and police.

Violators, under the new bill, face a $250 fine for using a fake, forged or expired permit, or for a using handicap permit that’s not issued to them.

Drivers could also be fined for not displaying the placard properly. The bill requires a driver to hang the full face of the placard visibly through their windshield instead of laying on the dashboard. Plus, the expiration date and serial number must be visible from 10 feet away.

"We're coming. It's time to crack down on this and honor those who deserve. It's time to crack down on this practice and we're going to empower law enforcement like we haven't in the past to make sure folks are following the rules,” said Rep. Chris Reykdal, D-Olympia.

HB 1946 passed the House unanimously. A senate hearing is scheduled Tuesday afternoon.

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