File Photo | Photo: SDOT Photos (via Flickr)

The Illinois secretary of state announced that police will be conducting parking stings throughout the state to ticket those who illegally park in spots reserved for those with disabilities this holiday season.

Secretary of State Jesse White said that the Secretary of State Police will be conducting the enforcement at shopping malls statewide throughout the holiday season.

Secretary of State Police is in Schaumburg, Springfield and Fairview Heights on Black Friday conducting the enforcement as it marks the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season.

Secretary of State Police will be enforcing the program in other areas of the state throughout the holiday season.

“Our mission is not to issue tickets, but to ensure that accessible parking spaces are available to those who need them,” White said.

“Parking illegally in a space reserved for people with disabilities means a possible driver’s license suspension and a hefty fine, money which could otherwise be used on gifts. Remember, if you don’t belong there, don’t park there,” White added.

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Drivers caught misusing a placard face a six-month driver’s license suspension and a $600 fine.

Repeat violators will face a one-year driver’s license suspension and a $750 fine for a second offense. For third or subsequent offenses, violators will face a $1,000 fine and a one-year driver’s license revocation.

The fine for parking in an accessible parking space without a disability placard or disability license plates can be up to $350.

Using a deceased person’s placard or a fraudulent placard can result in a $2,500 fine and one-year revocation of a driver’s license.

There are currently 530,498 permanent placards, 34,965 meter-exempt placards,  50,721 disability plates and 6,944 disabled veteran plates registered in Illinois.

White said he urges individuals to report abuse of parking spaces for people with disabilities by calling 217-785-0309.

Callers should be prepared to report placard and license plate numbers as well as the location of vehicles.

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People can also report abuse via the Secretary of State’s website at ilsos.gov and complete the Parking Program for Persons with Disabilities Abuse Complaint Form.