TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Ellen Karcher which would clarify that the penalties for illegally parking in a handicapped parking spot are active even when those penalties are not posted on a handicapped parking sign was unanimously approved today by the Assembly Transportation Committee.
“In today’s world, nearly every driver can easily identify a handicapped parking sign, whether the penalties are posted or not,” said Senator Karcher, D-Monmouth and Mercer. “We make those parking spots available as a matter of convenience and safety to our disabled drivers. To ignore the law, simply because penalties are not posted, is a mockery of the spirit of handicapped parking.”
The bill, S-1810, would amend current law to ensure that the penalties associated with handicapped parking laws be followed, even when those penalties are not posted or improperly posted on a handicapped parking sign. Under current law, failure to post the penalties for parking in a handicapped spot, even when the handicapped parking designation is clearly defined, could result in a parking ticket being thrown out. Senator Karcher noted that in most other criminal acts or motor vehicle offenses, knowledge of the penalties is not required when proving someone broke the law.
“We do not post penalties on speed limit signs, stop signs, or any other road sign that I can think of,” said Senator Karcher. “However, speed limits and stops are enforceable, whether the driver knows exactly what penalties await them or not. You don’t need a legal degree, or knowledge of every roadway statute, to be a courteous, safe and lawful on New Jersey’s roadways or in our parking lots, and we need to ensure safe parking is available for those who legitimately need it.”
Senator Karcher noted, just in case there was any confusion, that illegally parking in a handicapped parking space, under current law, carries a fine of $250 for a first offense, and a fine of at least $250 and up to 90 days of community service for second and subsequent offenses.
The bill now heads to the full Assembly for consideration. It was unanimously approved by the Senate in June.