On Tuesday, October 20th, San Diego city councilmembers are expected to amend the municipal code to increase the fines for people without valid disabled parking placards and license plates.
The amendment is twofold. The city council will first change infractions of parking in disabled parking spots from a misdemeanor to a parking violation. Doing so will allow parking-enforcement officers to hand out tickets. Currently, only sworn peace officers are allowed to issue misdemeanor violations.
In addition to the new designation, the city is expected to increase the parking violations to $740 per offense, more in line with amounts other large California cities fine violators. In Sacramento, a citation for misusing disabled parking spots carries a $975 fine; in San Francisco, $935.
Amending the municipal code will save police officers from having to cite violators and will generate extra revenue for the city.
A staff report released on September 28 said police officers issue about 400 citations a year to those not displaying valid disabled parking placards.
"If you multiply the 400 citations at $740 per ticket, that would generate $296,000 in revenue for the city," said the report. "The flagrant and willful misuse of placards has increased substantially. It is estimated that 60 percent of the placards issued in California are currently being misused. There’s an exponential loss of revenue for the city when a parking meter is being occupied unlawfully and the enforcement of such actions are not enforced."
The city council will hear the item during their 10 a.m. session.