FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
DRIVERS WARNED TO AVOID USING HANDICAPPED SPACES
Holiday Activity Is No Excuse to Ignore Rights of Disabled
Commissioner David J. Swarts of the Department of Motor Vehicles and Chair of the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee, along Chief Steven H. Heider of the Colonie Police Department and Acting Director Greg Olsen of the State Office for the Aging, today warned drivers not to park in spaces designated for people with disabilities during the holiday season or at any other time.
"As we enter the holiday shopping season and parking lots become jammed with cars, some drivers may be tempted to park in spaces designated for people who are disabled," Commissioner Swarts said. "They should remember that handicapped spots are for people with designated plates or permits that indicate that they are disabled. Not parking in these spots isn't just a courtesy, it's the law."
Acting Director of the New York State Office for the Aging Olsen said: "It is important this holiday season and throughout the year to be sensitive and aware of the risks associated with parking in designated spots reserved for persons of all ages with disabilities. Parking in these spots can result in serious injury or even death related to falls and can rob individuals who are walking, walking with assistive devices or using wheelchairs of their access to shops, denying them the joys of the holiday season. Take time to think about this before you park, it makes a difference in the lives of others and can save you money also by not incurring fines."
Chief Heider said: "It has always been a priority of the Colonie Police Department to ensure the maximum accessibility for all who visit our public establishments in the Town of Colonie, especially for those who are physically disabled. We will continue to strictly enforce these laws in the hope of making this an enjoyable holiday season for all."
New York State has an estimated 3.6 million residents with disabilities. The DMV has issued more than 45,000 distinctive license plates and municipalities have issued more than 600,000 parking permits for people with disabilities.
New York State law prohibits parking in a handicapped parking space without a permit. The fine for illegally parking in a space reserved for people with disabilities can range from $50 to $150. In addition to the minimum fine for illegally parking in spaces reserved for mobility-impaired individuals, there is a surcharge of $30 for local disability awareness and enforcement programs.
Additional violations could include the use of an altered parking permit, parking in a handicapped parking space without displaying the required parking permit or plate, illegal use of a special permit or plate, and blocking access aisles marked for vans and other life-equipped vehicles. Officers ticketing parking violators also can have illegally parked vehicles impounded at the owner's expense.
For additional information on parking for people with disabilities, visit the DMV Web site at www.dmv.ny.gov.
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