On November 20, 2013, the Massachusetts Office of the Inspector General (OIG) issued a report on an investigation of misuse of disabled persons parking placards. As a result of the investigation, all 13 drivers identified as abusing disabled persons parking placards have been fined $500 by the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV). In addition, 12 of the 13 drivers had their licenses suspended for 30 days and will have to pay an additional $500 reinstatement fee to the RMV in order to restore their driving privileges. The thirteenth driver cited for abusing a disabled persons parking placard did not have a valid driver’s license and is awaiting trial on a criminal charge of operating without a license.

During a joint investigation conducted last year by the OIG, the Massachusetts State Police and the RMV looked into misuse of disabled persons parking placards in downtown Boston, 13 motor vehicle operators were cited for using placards issued to other people. Eight of the 13 placards belonged to relatives who were not in the vehicle, two of the placards belonged to a friend or co-worker who was not in the vehicle, and three of the placards belonged to people who were deceased.

Among the cases found during the investigation were:

  • A director of compliance for a wealth management company who used a deceased priest’s placard.
  • An individual who operates a popular lunch destination in the Financial District who used his father-in-law’s placard to hold a space in front of his restaurant for a delivery vehicle.
  • An individual who used her grandmother’s placard in the Government Center area of the city. The driver’s grandmother lives in Georgia.

Separately, the RMV took action against some placard holders. Five of the placards have been suspended indefinitely because the placard holders did not appear at an RMV hearing regarding the alleged misuse of their placard.

Last year’s investigation into misuse of disabled persons parking placards was the third investigation of its kind by the OIG. Prior investigations in 2007 and 2010 found that many drivers were using expired placards. In response, the RMV made modifications to its placards that seem to have curtailed the use of expired placards. During last year’s effort, investigators did not find any examples of drivers using expired placards.

For more information, please contact Jack Meyers at (617) 722-8822 or at john.meyers@state.ma.us.

The full report is available at the following link: The Abuse of Disabled Persons Parking Placards: A Multi-Agency Investigation, November 2013 pdf format of The Abuse of Disabled Persons Parking Placards