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Nearly 4 in 5 complaints submitted to state handicap spot abuse hotline deemed legitimate

Since it's start in August, the Department of Finance and Administration says they've received nearly 250 complaints of handicapped parking spot abuse across Arkansas. (Photo: KATV)

They're highly coveted spots, but they're reserved solely for those that need them. It's why the Department of Finance and Administration launched set up a website and hotline to report people abusing handicapped parking spots.

"Immediately out of the gate we received I think 50 complaints that first week," said Scott Hardin, DF&A spokesperson.

But since its initial launch, Hardin says the number of people reporting handicapped spot abuse has dropped off.

"We thought maybe entering the Christmas season and holiday shopping, that we might see a spike simply because there are so many people out," said Hardin. "We've not seen that."

Since the program launched in August, DF&A has received 245 complaints, out of which 198 were deemed legitimate. That means DF&A checked the license plates submitted against the state's handicapped placard records and found that 4 in 5 submitted did not have proper tags associated with the car in question.

All 198 people found to be violating handicapped spots were sent letters explaining that they had been caught and asking them to not do it again. But Hardin said some violators have already been found to be repeat offenders, prompting DF&A to take action.

"In those cases we pick up the phone and call local law enforcement instead of just e-mailing it along," said Hardin.

Whether law enforcement actually pursues action against handicapped spot violators is up to the individual agency.

Hardin said DF&A has received complaints from all over the state, but the majority of complaints stem from central Arkansas; nearly half of all complaints submitted are from Pulaski County alone.

If you find someone abusing a handicapped spot, you can also file a complaint with the DF&A by accessing their website here or by calling the state hotline at (866) NO-PARK-5.

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