Parking officials said last week that they’d like to institute a new fine for motorists who fail to display handicapped placards properly.
It long has been the Parking Bureau’s practice to forego issuing tickets to motorists with handicapped stickers on license plates or who have handicapped placards displayed visibly in their cars, such as hanging from a rearview mirror, according to Parking Manager Stacy Miltenberg.
Yet people who “legitimately have a handicapped permit” have been found to park in a handicapped spot or elsewhere “and they forget to put it up,” Miltenberg told members of the Parking Commission at their regular meeting Thursday.
“They leave it on the dashboard, [or] it’s on a seat,” Miltenberg said at the meeting, held in Town Hall. “We were wondering if–of course we would take back the fine [for the associated parking violation]—but we would like to implement a small fee for not displaying it properly or not displaying it at all. We are starting to take back a significant amount of tickets for people here.”
Ultimately, the Commission put off a vote on the measure, though members did discuss a possible fine and urged those with handicapped permits to display them prominently.
The Connecticut Office of Legislative Research has said that state law requires handicapped placards to be “displayed by hanging it from the front windshield rearview mirror when using a parking space reserved for persons with disabilities.”
“If there is no rearview mirror, the placard must be displayed in clear view on the dashboard,” according to the state.
According to Commissioner Pam Crum, some cars have rearview mirrors that are too big to hang a handicapped placard around.
Miltenberg said: “That is the problem. They leave it on the dashboard, we go to write a ticket and go to put it on. It’s technically supposed to be displayed.”
Often, the same motorists fail to display their placards prominently, Miltenberg said.
“We have people that do it time and time again,” she said. “That is why I am coming to you.”
When those motorists come in to the Parking Bureau to show that they have a valid handicapped placard, the town agency always waives the fine associated with whatever violation has been incurred, whether that’s a $150 fine for parking illegally in a handicapped spot or a $25 for overtime parking.
The Commission entertained possible fines ranging from $20 to $50 for failing to display the placard properly. Miltenberg said she would not want the proposed fine to exceed the amount incurred for the violation that the town would waive—for example, instituting a $30 fine for failure to properly display a handicapped placard when a ticketed person would come in to the Parking Bureau for a $25 fine for overtime parking.
Crum asked that the local press put out the word urging those with handicapped placards to ensure they’re displayed prominently in parked cars, and said the Commission would take up the matter again at its September meeting.