Drivers who abuse parking spaces marked for the disabled could face tougher fines, under legislation at the Capitol.
Alicia Boehme with Disability Rights Wisconsin says it's a major problem, with multiple calls made to their organization each year from those who need the spaces, but can't access them because someone has parked their illegally. Boehme says the current fines, which top out at $300, don't do enough to discourage healthy drivers from parking in those spots without a disabled permit.
Even some of the cars who do use those spaces may not belong there. Boehme says there are frequent cases of people using parking tags that belong to family members, even if the disabled party is not with them at the time.
Proposed legislation at the Capitol would increase fines for those who park illegally or misuse disabled parking tags. Violators could face fines of up to $500, which advocates say should help to discourage drivers from abusing the spaces. It could also encourage policy to more actively enforce violations.
The measure would also increase fines for trying to sell a disabled parking tag, something Duane Hinz of Madison says happens quite often. He says the tags have commanded prices over $1,000 from people who want to use them for free or easy access parking.
The bill is currently being considered by a Legislative committee.