made obvious as a panel of public officials organized by County
Councilman Robert Weiner discussed the issue at a meeting of the
Council of Civic Organizations of Brandywine Hundred on Jan. 10.
summed up the likely reason for that. "I don't think people take
it (the law) seriously," she said.
is it routinely violated -- both by drivers who usurp spaces
designated for handicapped and those who misuse credentials
permitting use of those spaces -- but enforcement is at best a
Delaforum previously reported, state police ticketed, statewide
and mostly in shopping centers, 526 vehicles through the first
11 months of 2001. Of those, 260, or just under half, have
resulted so far in fines being levied. Most of those were simply
mailed in by people who chose not to contest the citations. The
largest number of the remainder, 123 are listed as pending,
which in many cases means they were simply ignored.
the present state law is very specific on how each individual
space must be marked, it is relatively easy to contest tickets.
But Lt. Robert Schleifer, traffic officer are the Penny Hill
troop, said the practice is not to bother tagging cars in such
pressing problem, he said, is the dwindling number of state
police cadets who issue the tags. They are youths, ages 18 to
21, most of whom have some interest in eventually going into
police work but who are not actually in training. The program
got off to a good start a few years but hasn't been able to
maintain momentum, he said.
ability to enforce is limited," said Sgt. Keith Sparks of the
New Castle County force, which has jurisdiction over violations
mostly in apartment complexes. As a non-emergency situation,
parking law enforcement ranks fifth in five levels of priority,
magistrate Patricia Griffin said justices of the peace impose
fines in cases where the spaces are marked property but "if the
requirements are not met, the case will be dismissed." In
response to a question from the audience, she said the lower
courts could be empowered to impose civil penalties on the basis
of photographic evidence of violations.
said the 11-page bill she intends to introduce into the General
Assembly also will deal with the use of special handicapped
license plates and dangling tags which identify vehicles
eligible to use handicapped parking spaces. The advocacy groups
with which she has been working are anxious to curb misuse of
very tempting for other people to use," she said.
situation is only somewhat better when it comes do dealing with
violations of fire lanes, the civic meeting was told.
Michael Chionchio, of the state fire marshal's office, said an
effort is now underway to assure that lanes are properly marked.
According to fire regulations, they must be marked by yellow
lines and identified by permanent signs.
Priority is being given to surveying
the lanes around schools, but shopping centers are also being
checked. "In places, we've found million dollar shopping centers
that put up only cardboard signs," he reported.