Ask Laz: How to report bogus use of a disabled parking placard


It’s a beef many drivers share: Seeing someone with a disabled placard hanging from their rear-view mirror park in handicapped space and then exit their car with no physical disability evident.

Roger asks if there’s an effective way to report potential placard fraud.

“I tried the direct approach with the DMV and that seemed to be fruitless,” he says.

ASK LAZ: Smart answers to consumer questions

In California, about 1 in 10 drivers are legally registered to carry blue and red disabled placards. It’s been estimated that roughly a third of vehicles displaying such tags may be cases of fraudulent use of such tags.


This is a tricky business. Not everyone who receives a parking pass may appear disabled. Some may seem healthy but have underlying conditions that qualify as disabilities.

That said, I have no doubt that there’s abuse of these things. Like Roger, I’ve witnessed numerous instances of supposedly disabled people getting into or out of cars who looked decidedly fit.

I mean, when someone’s wearing workout duds and leaving the gym, it’s fair to wonder why that person requires special parking privileges.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles says that it considers “crimes relating to disabled placards very serious and every complaint of this nature will be reviewed.”

If you suspect anyone of pulling a fast one with a disabled placard, the DMV says you can report it by calling (800) 777-0133. That’s the agency’s general phone number, so it’s understandable that, like Roger, you might feel it gets you nowhere.

Your next step might be touching base with one of the DMV’s investigation offices statewide. Here’s a link to find them.


You can also report placard abuse to any local law-enforcement agency, including the cops, sheriff’s department, highway patrol or your county Department of Transportation.

Here’s a link for the city of Los Angeles’ information for reporting placard abuse.

If these various avenues accomplish nothing, there are websites that say they’ll file complaints on your behalf.

One such site is, which describes itself as “a place for community-based reporting of handicapped placard abuse and fraud.”

But I’ll reiterate: A healthy looking person can still be legally disabled, so keep that in mind before playing Eliot Ness.

If you have a consumer question, email me at or contact me via Twitter @Davidlaz.