TULSA- A new state law nearly triples the fine for parking illegally in a handicapped spot. It could now cost you $500 if you park in a handicapped spot without a handicapped sticker.
But it may be a little while before that big fine takes effect here.
"I really do appreciate my handicapped sticker because it helps me to be closer to the door, and getting in and out."
Rose Lair says her handicapped sticker helps her get around easier. "I don't think it's really very thoughtful of people who take advantage of it, when they don't have the need for it," she said.
A new state law might make some think twice before parking illegally in handicapped spots. It increases the fine from $150 to $500 for people who get caught parking illegally or using a handicapped placard that is not their own.
"I think it ought to hinder people from taking advantage of it when they don't need to," Lair said.
Officer Craig Murray is a traffic safety coordinator with the Tulsa Police Department. He says the fine won't immediately be $500.
"When a state comes along with a change or new fine schedule, our city procesecutor has to adopt it for the courts. They have to incorporate it and city council has to approve any type of rate structure and things like that. So there's some bells and whistles to go through," he said.
In 2009, Officer Murray says Tulsa Police issued more than one thousand tickets for handicapped parking violations. He says they even have reserve officers dedicated to keeping an eye on handicapped parking. Meanwhile people who use the placards hope the new law will work.
"I wouldn't want to pay $100, so I wouldn't park in those places. And I definitely wouldn't want to pay $500, maybe that'll keep everybody out," said Jim Smith.
80 percent of the fines collected will go to the municipality's general fund, and 20 percent will go to the Department of Public Safety to further enforce the law.
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