Just about anywhere you go, you can spot a vehicle parked in a spot reserved for those who are disabled, without the required handicapped license plate or placard.
We sat on this red Nissan truck thinking someone would come out in 20 or 30 minutes, or even 1 hour later. But after 1 hour and 47 minutes still no one jumped into this illegally parked truck at the 8th Street Walmart store. We had to leave to cover breaking news, so we weren't able to talk to that driver.
This woman was sitting in her truck with the engine running in a handicapped spot, but I'm told she, too is breaking the law. That's because no one is allowed to use one of these spots without proof you're allowed to be here.
I asked her, "Do you have your handicapped placard?" She answered, "Uhm, no." Then I asked, "Do you have one though?" Again she answered, "No."
I then asked, "Are you in a hurry?" And she replied, "Yeah, I'm actually just dropping him off and I just didn't back, back out."
Jon Barkley with the Colorado Springs Police Department's Handicap Service Unit told me, "Look, we're taking this very seriously, okay. We want the violations to stop."
Barkley says violations are up and have been rising from 1,141 in 2011 to 1,749 in 2013.
As a result, the city raised the fine from $100 for a first time violation to $250.
Jon emphasizes, "You park in a minute and you're going to get a ticket."
Altogether 15 volunteers regularly patrol spots like these throughout the Springs, looking for either the license plate or the placard.
And that's not all, the state of Colorado is also bumping up the first time fine. Starting in January 2015, if you're caught parking in a spot without the necessary placard or license plate, it will set you back $350.
The Colorado Springs Police Department, city attorney's office, and municipal court's presiding judge are now studying the 2015 state law. Because its' fine is $350, they're trying to figure out if the city's fine will stay at $250 or be raised to $350. We'll keep you posted.
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