Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Disabled-Veteran License Plate

Does an Illinois Disabled Veteran license plate entitle a driver to park in a handicap parking place?

Yesterday afternoon I was at 3 Brothers Restaurant and noticed a car parked in one of the handicap parking spaces. The vehicle did not have a handicap placard hanging from its inside rearview mirror or have a handicap license plate, but it did have an Illinois "Disabled Veteran" license plate – you know, the one with the initials D-over-V following the plate number.

Being a curious person I telephoned the Illinois State Police later to inquire whether a driver with this license plate is permitted to park in a handicap parking space. The trooper quite quickly informed me that the Disabled Veteran plate does not entitle a driver to park in such a spot.

Why is this important? The fine for violating a handicap parking space is $250. If you go to court and fight it (how can you win?), then plan on adding probably $100-200 in court costs to that fine.

So it makes a $10 dinner at 3 Brothers very expensive.

What would probably happen is that a Woodstock police officer would not write a $250 ticket to the vehicle and its driver. The driver might even believe that he is entitled to park there, but believing it doesn’t make it lawful. A State Representative from another District told me that police officers will often not cite a driver for a violation, when they believe the fine is too high (or that a person won’t be able to pay it).

It’s called “discretion.”

How do you educate a person about handicap parking privileges? (And they are a privilege, not a right.) I wonder what would have happened, had I called the State Police on the spot for that information and then politely approached the driver, hoping to save him a $250 fine? I guess there are several possible outcomes.

He could thank me for saving him the risk of a huge fine.
He could ignore me.
He could discuss it and agree to call the State Police himself to learn what the law is.
He could blow up and make me wish I had just sicced the cops on him and insisted on a ticket.

There are times when you see an able-bodied driver just whip into a handicap parking spot and take it because it’s close to his destination. Now, that driver deserves a $250 lesson.

Do the police really have a choice, if they observe a car parked in a handicap parking spot with no placard or special license plate? Can or will they exercise discretion? Should they?

If they give a driver in a Cadillac or Lexus or Lincoln a break, but then they don’t give a guy in an old beater the same break, is that fair? Is it even legal?


Anonymous said...


Mommy, there picking on me.

Anonymous said...

This is copied right from Cyberdriveillinois.com:

"Disabled Veteran
Any U.S. Armed Forces veteran who has a 100 percent military
disability or who is eligible to receive a federal grant toward the
purchase of a vehicle may apply for these plates. Vehicles
displaying these plates may park in spaces reserved for persons
with disabilities. A letter from the Department of Veterans’
Affairs verifying the applicant is 100 percent military service
disabled or eligible for a federal grant toward the purchase of a
vehicle is required."

According to the Secretary of States office the disabled veterans plate does qualify for handicap parking privilages.

Anonymous said...

NOTE: Vehicles displaying DV plates may occupy areas specifically reserved for use by handicapped persons. Parking meter fees and time limitations are also waived, except at meters, signs or other markings with time limitations of 30 minutes or less.

Source Jessie White S.O.S.

Gus said...

Thanks to those who posted the comments above. Wish I had gotten the name of the State Trooper at the Elgin District office. The two comments are interesting and appreciated. The applicant for a Disabled Veteran license plate does have to prove 100% disability and thereby qualifies for the D/V plate, with which he can then park in the handicap parking place. Many thanks to the above commenters on this correction to my article.

Anonymous said...

You are a very lonely old man that has nothing better to do thatn drive your red Beetle around town trying to stir the pot. GET A LIFE

Anonymous said...

You should also note that those plates are now considered to be VANITY plates and cost a LOT more then regular plates do. Who do we have to thank for this? Why the FORMER S.O.S. who is now rotting away in prison where he belongs. Being a disabled person myself, I appreciate it when respectful citizens report violators.

Gus said...

If you have ever reported a parking violator in a handicap parking space, will you relate your experience? How quickly did the police respond? What action did the officer take, when you pointed the violator out to him/her? Was a ticket issued?

Mugwump199 said...

The trooper was WRONG - as long as the person who qualified for the plates rode in the vehicle and got in or out, it was legally parked!
Read "Rules Of The Road" from the Secretary of State!

Gus said...

I think the distinction is whether the disabled person was IN the car when it was parked in the handicap space.

If the driver lets the disabled person out at the curb and then takes the car to park it, I don't think the driver can then park in the handicap spot.

If the driver goes directly to the handicap parking spot and the disabled person gets out there, then the car is legally parked.