ILLINOIS (WCIA) — The Illinois Secretary of State’s Office is starting a statewide sting operation to catch drivers misusing parking spaces designated for people with disabilities.

Starting Friday, Secretary of State Police will be enforcing the provisions of the Parking Program for Persons with Disabilities at shopping centers throughout the state. Springfield is among the cities being focused on for Black Friday, but other areas of the state will receive attention throughout the holiday season.

“Our mission is not to issue tickets, but to ensure that accessible parking spaces are available to those who need them,” said Secretary of State Jesse White. “Parking illegally in a space reserved for people with disabilities means a possible driver’s license suspension and a hefty fine, money which could otherwise be used on gifts. Remember, if you don’t belong there, don’t park there.”

Drivers caught during this sting face several differing penalties depending on the offense:

  • Misusing a placard
    • First offense: Six-month license suspension and $600 fine
    • Second offense: One-year license suspension and $700 fine
    • Third and subsequent offenses: One-year license revocation and $1,000 fine
  • Parking in a handicapped parking space without a placard or disability license plated – maximum $350 fine
  • Using a deceased individual’s placard or a fraudulent placard – One-year license revocation and $2,500 fine

People can report abuse of parking spaces for people with disabilities by calling 217-785-0309. Callers should be prepared to report placard and license plate numbers as well as the vehicle’s location. People can also report abuse on the Secretary of State’s website by completing a complaint form.