Tuesday, July 24, 2007By KIAWANA RICH
S. I. ADVANCE STAFF WRITER
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — A message to those heartless drivers who park illegally in spots reserved for the the handicapped: Your number is up.
Legislation signed into law by Gov. Eliot Spitzer now requires that handicapped-parking hang tags include the last three digits of an individual’s driver’s license or non-driver identification card.
The law gives police a tool to thwart the abuse of handicapped-parking spaces and tags.
“If they see someone coming and parking and suspect the person is not the owner of the tag, it gives them cause to ask for ID,” said Assemblyman Michael Cusick (D-Mid-Island), who sponsored the bill.
Cusick said that too often people borrow the tags for their own selfish reasons and deny the spaces to those who absolutely depend on them.
“This is a great bill for enforcement for what I consider a quality-of-life issue, particularly on Staten Island,” he added.
Cusick said the law was an initiative that came out of his Handicapped Parking Task Force. Formed in 2003, the task force includes citizens with and without disabilities, members of the city Department of Transportation, the NYPD and the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce.
Even prior to the law’s passing, Cusick’s task force in conjunction with the NYPD embarked on a boroughwide campaign to end the abuse. The initiative resulted in a 34 percent drop between 2005 and 2006 in the number of tickets issued for drivers parking illegally in handicapped spaces.
The fine for parking illegally in a handicapped spot is $180.