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Fine Rises for Violating Handicapped Parking

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RALEIGH — The next time you decide to slide into a handicapped parking space for a quick errand, grab your checkbook.

Not many people know it, but the fine for breaking that law has gone up -- way up.

Since January 1, the maximum fine for cheaters parking in a handicapped spot in North Carolina has been upped from $100 to $250.

But many of the signs that have been in place for a long time still say the fine will be $100.

Cary storeowner Ralph Ashworth is incredulous. "You're telling me it's now $250 to be illegally parked. All of our signs say $100. So I need some new signs? Is that the deal?"

Not exactly.

Merchants can buy a sticker at a sign shop for about $2.50 and place it on the old sign.

Still, sign makers say there's been little interest in the stickers and the new signs.

"We've had very few people come in and ask about it," says Jeri Walter, a sign maker. "Most people don't seem to know."

They are now six months behind in getting it done.

Roger Foushee is a consultant for the Americans With Disabilities Act for the state. He says cities and counties have been notified about the change, but business owners have not.

"They just don't know," Foushee said. "There hasn't been enough publicity. It's hard. When a new law passes, it often takes two to three years."

People who enforce parking laws hope it will happen sooner. Cary Police Captain Brad Hudson understands the issue well. Due to serious injuries from a car accident a year ago he uses handicapped parking.

"Our position would be that certainly displaying that $250 maximum penalty would act as a deterrent," Hudson said. "Again, that's the goal, to make those spots available for those people that need them."

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Amanda Lamb, Reporter
Joe Frieda, Photographer
Kay Miller, Web Editor

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