Changes have been made to the statutes governing persons with disabilities paying metered parking. Currently, Section 1301.1 of the Illinois Vehicle Code exempts individuals with a disability plate or placard from paying meter fees, with some limited exceptions.
However, as of Jan. 1, 2014, this exemption will not be applied to all individuals with disability plates or placards. The Secretary of State will have separate classifications and placards to determine which of the individuals issued disability plates or placards will qualify for meter exemption. The categories of individuals who will qualify for meter-exempt parking, based on a physician’s certification, are as follows:
- Individuals unable to manage coins or parking stubs due to a lack of fine motor control in both hands
- Individuals unable to reach above their head 42 inches from the ground
- Individuals unable to approach a parking meter due to use of wheelchair or other device used for mobility
- Individuals unable to walk more than 20 feet due to various conditions that render the individual almost immobile.
All other disability placard and plate holders will be required to pay to utilize metered parking.
Furthermore, the penalties prescribed for misuse of disabled plates or placards and fictitious or unlawfully altered plates have been amended. The misuse of a plate or placard will change from a fine of $500 to $600. A more serious change is for fictitious or altered plates and placards, with a first offense increasing to $1,000 from $500. A second offense will be a $2,000 fine, up from $1,000. A new class of violators, medical professionals, can be subject to criminal charges for falsifying a person’s certification to receive a placard or plate.
Author: William C. Westfall