AUSTIN, Texas - Beginning tomorrow morning, anyone pulling into a public parking spot designated for the disabled better be disabled. Long a joke to most people who need these spaces, officials here have decided the laugh will now have a new punchline: a $511 fine.
Until now, those ticketed for violating the law were allowed to merely pay a $278 fine and be done with it. But critics of the old law enforcement practice charged that the police department never made the law a priority, that its officers rarely busted anyone not disabled. That will change today, says Mayor Lee Leffingwell.
The law applies equally to anyone driving or riding a car or motorcycle or bicycle.
For beginners, Austin says its officers will use the coming weeks to vigorously monitor disabled parking...