Holiday Shoppers Beware: Parking Crackdown Set for Black Friday

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    As malls and stores flood with crowds of shoppers on the hunt for the best Black Friday deals, one thing shoppers will want to avoid in their rush to the doors is parking illegally.

    Secretary of State Jesse White announced Tuesday that Secretary of State Police will be cracking down on people illegally parking in spaces reserved for those with disabilities at shopping malls beginning on Black Friday.

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    Police will be on the hunt for illegally parked cars at Water Tower Place in Chicago, Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg and malls in Carbondale, Champaign, Peoria, Fairview Heights, Marion, Rockford and Springfield.

    “Our mission is not to give tickets, but to ensure that these parking spaces are available to those who need them,” White said. “Parking illegally in a space reserved for people with disabilities will mean a possible driver’s license suspension plus more money spent on fines and less on gifts. My message is simple: if you don’t belong there, don’t park there.”

    Drivers caught misusing a placard face a six month driver’s license suspension and a $500 fine. Repeat violators will face a one year driver’s license suspension and a $1,000 fine.

    Last year, White said more than 160 citations were issued to drivers illegally parked in spots reserved for the disabled.

    There are 690,593 disability placards and 80,205 disability license plates in Illinois.

    White urged people to report abuse of parking spaces for people with disabilities by calling (217) 785- 0309. Callers will need to report placard and license plate numbers as well as the locations of vehicles.

    People can also report abuse by filling out a Program for Persons with Disabilities Abuse Complaint Form via the Secretary of State’s website at www.cyberdriveillinois.com.