|Trinity Standard - Local News
Stories Added - August 2010
Copyright 2010 - Polk County Publishing Company
Police target handicapped parking
Trinity Standard -
TRINITY – Local drivers are being warned that designated handicapped parking spaces are to be used only by handicapped people. All others caught in one of those spaces will be issued tickets and face a $125 fine. In addition, police will be targeting illegal left turns by drivers seeking to park in one of the angled spaces in the downtown area. “We’ve been receiving complaints about non-handicapped people taking handicapped parking spaces and I want the public to know that we are now on the lookout for those situations,” Trinity Police Chief Steven Jones said Monday. Jones said he and his officers have researched recent changes in state law regarding the issue and will be strictly enforcing those rules. Drivers who use handicapped parking will need to properly display their handicapped placard from their rearview mirrors in order to avoid a ticket. “I didn’t realize until we were researching the changes in the law that having a handicapped license plate does not entitle a car to park in a handicapped space,” Jones said. Cars that park in a handicap zone must have a handicapped placard and it must be displayed properly inside the car, he said. Jones noted that the blue or red (temporary) placards must hang from the interior rearview mirror facing out so that an officer can clearly see the expiration date. “Simply laying the placard on the dashboard does not qualify. It has to be visible so that a passerby can clearly see it,” the police chief said. Cars found parked in a handicapped space with an improperly displayed or expired placard will be issued citations. “This is a quality of life issue for the handicapped. Those parking spaces have been set aside for them to use because they have a legitimate need. Those spaces are not there to be used by people who are ‘only going to be a minute’ or who just don’t want to walk a few extra steps,” he said. Jones noted that under state law, the handicapped placards are issued to individuals, not vehicles. And under the law, the person to whom the placard was issued must be present. “When we find a car parked in a handicapped space, the person who was issued the placard has to be either in the vehicle or in a nearby store or building,” the chief said. If the person who was issued the placard is not present, Jones said officers will issue tickets to the driver. They also can confiscate the placard as evidence of a crime. Jones added that to obtain a handicapped placard, a person must obtain a doctor’s order. They are issued paperwork regarding that order and they must have those documents with them when using a handicapped parking space. In addition to the handicapped parking issue, Jones also issued a warning to drivers who have been making illegal left turns to park in angled parking places on Robb and Main streets in downtown Trinity. Officers also will be on the lookout for those situations and will be issuing tickets, he said. Under the law, angled parking can only be accessed by drivers traveling on the same side of the street as the parking space.