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Placards for the disabled being abused

March 27, 2007|From the Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — The proliferation of placards for the disabled that allow drivers to ignore meters and use parking spots meant for those with disabilities points to abuse of the system, officials said.

About one in 16 motorists in California carry the signs -- more than double the number a decade ago. An aging population, a broader definition of the disabilities that qualify drivers for the privilege and abuse of the system are behind the increase, said Mike Miller of the state Department of Motor Vehicles.

"You know that there are some people who are just looking for a free place to park," said Francine Larkrith-Thompson, Oakland's parking manager.

Those carrying the signs can park in time-limited spots without getting a ticket and don't have to feed parking meters, which hurts city income. The DMV doesn't know how much fraud there is in the system.

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