TRAVIS COUNTY -- Authorities stepped up enforcement during the busy tax-free weekend. Officials in the Travis County Constable's Office, Precinct Five, wrote tickets for expired and misused handicapped placards in an effort to crackdown on abuse of the spots.
The Constable's Office said they chose this weekend to increase enforcement due to busy parking lots on tax-free weekend and to increase awareness.
Deputies, as well as 50 volunteers, were out patrolling Saturday.
Senior Deputy Laurence Caldwell with the Travis County Constables Office checks to make sure the name on the handicapped placards matches an I.D. of a person in the car.
"I like to concentrate on the illegal use placards, because there are so many out there, and I've seized over 200 this year," said Caldwell.
Caldwell said he found several expired placards, as well as drivers using a parent's parking permit.
Precinct Five Constable Carlos B. Lopez said these people are looking for a bargain on this tax-free weekend, but "unfortunately they are leaving with something that they didn't bargain for, that is a $500 parking violation."
$500 is a first offense. The fine gets higher with multiple tickets.
This enforcement is about awareness and equal access. "People with disabilities are trying to go shopping as well, and they can't because they don't have anywhere to park," said Lopez.
Jacqulyn Jackson is a disabled driver.
"If I had to park down the road, I'd be completely out of breath and in pain," Jackson said.
She also said had to leave the Barton Springs Mall earlier when she couldn't find a spot.
"It's just not right to park in the spot if you are not authorized," said Jackson.
She's happy to see this extra enforcement, and hopes they do it more often, so people will think a minute before parking illegally.
Officers also warn that even if you are elderly, you can't use your wife or husbands placard, unless they are in the car with you.