BOSTON (CBS) – Anyone who lives or works in downtown Boston knows that parking isn’t cheap.
However, the WBZ I-Team repeatedly observed how some drivers are cheating the system to avoid the cost: Using someone else’s handicap placard to park for free at meters all day.
Despite new legislation intended to crack down on abuse, the I-Team found enforcement can be elusive, especially since it often requires catching a driver in the act.
Government watchdogs and disability advocates say it raises the question: Is it time to change the state law that exempts drivers with handicap placards from paying for parking at meters?
Day after day, the I-Team watched a construction worker finish his shift in the Seaport District. He then returned to his Toyota sedan with the handicap placard belonging to a 64-year-old woman hanging in the rear-view mirror.
Even on days when he hitched a ride with a friend, the worker brought the placard to score them the free spot.
When the I-Team approached the worker to question him about the abuse, he initially denied the Toyota was his car. After learning he’d been repeatedly captured on video, the man walked away and hid around a corner until the I-Team left the area.
The I-Team discussed the findings with Sen. Eileen Donoghue, a Lowell state lawmaker who championed a new law that increases fines and penalties for placard abuse, which take effect this summer.
“What you described is absolutely a violation,” Donoghue said. “If they got hit with a $1,000 fine, that would get their attention. The new law is really to discourage and disincentive people from using these inappropriately.”