SAN DIEGO, Calif. (CBS 8) -- Disabled placards are meant to help California drivers with legitimate disabilities. But, all too often, people use them illegally; like at San Diego Chargers home games, for example.
The CBS News 8 Crimefighters videotaped a recent San Diego Police Department crackdown at Qualcomm Stadium on disabled placard abuse.
It normally costs $25 to park at the stadium for Chargers games. Vehicles with disabled placards hanging in the windshield, however, get in for free; provided, of course, the placard is legally registered to somebody inside the vehicle.
“You would think that we would get the young adult using either their parent's or grandparent's placard, but we have grandparents using their grandchild's handicapped placard,” said SDPD Sgt. Dan Hollister.
It's the same at every Chargers home game. SDPD motorcycle officers stop vehicles after the driver has already used the placard to get into the parking lot for free.
Officers then run a check to make sure the person who owns the disabled placard is actually inside the vehicle. If not, the driver gets nailed with a citation and fine of up to $1,000.
“It's a way for them to get a parking space they do not deserve and also to get into the parking lot for free,” said Sgt. Hollister.
After issuing a citation, officers confiscate the disabled placard, which means the legitimate owner has to reapply for a new one.
The vehicle is then escorted out of the stadium parking lot, so the driver has to wait in line and pay the $25 parking fee to get back in.
Over the course of one day, six SDPD officers wrote 28 disabled placard citations; about $28,000 worth of tickets.