By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– This year’s Coachella Valley Music Festival started out on a sour note for 135 concertgoers who received misdemeanor citations for fraudulently using disabled person parking placards. Investigators with the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) issued an additional 18 citations to people they caught parking in a disabled spot without a placard, bringing the total to 153.
Offenders have their placard confiscated, receive a misdemeanor citation with fines that range from $250 to $1,000, and the violation appears on their driver record.
This is the second consecutive year that DMV investigators teamed up with the Indio Police Department to conduct a crackdown at the music festival. During the event’s two-weekend run, April 13-15 and April 20-22, they checked 1,989 placards.
“While the citation numbers remain high, there is encouraging news from our recent enforcement effort,” Acting DMV Investigations Chief Mary Bienko said. “Last year, we issued citations to 1 of every 7 people we stopped. This year’s ratio was 1 of 13. While that is a decrease, our goal is not to have to issue a single citation.”
The DMV credits the reduction in citations to the department’s aggressive enforcement efforts throughout the state combined with its comprehensive public awareness campaign.
“When someone misuses a disabled person parking placard, it impedes the mobility of our disabled community,” said DMV Director Jean Shiomoto. “I’m asking all able-bodied Californians to save the space.”
The DMV has also implemented new procedures aimed at reducing fraud. Disabled person parking placard applicants must now provide proof of their true full name and birthdate. Placard holders are now limited to four replacements every two years without a medical recertification and they must submit a renewal notice every six years beginning with placards that expire in June 2023. Currently, permanent disabled parking placards expire in June 2019 and are automatically renewed every two years.
Individuals who suspect disabled parking placard misuse are urged to inform the DMV by using an online complaint form or contacting their local DMV Investigations office. It is important to note that some qualifying disabilities are not visually apparent and allegations of misuse might be unfounded.
Information about disabled parking placards: https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/vr/disabled
View and download educational materials: https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/about/dppp_outreach