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Smartphones Help Ticket Drivers

Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 04:08 PM CDT

Hays County is making it easier to ticket drivers illegally parked in handicapped spaces. A new Parking Mobility program lets volunteers enforce the law with their smartphones.

"I had major back surgery," said Hays County Judge Bert Cobb. "I was unable to walk for about a month."

So he was issued a temporary disabled parking permit.

"I started out with a walker and then I went to a cane," said Judge Cobb.

Now he's more mobile and taking up the fight for others who have trouble getting around.

"Most people park in a handicapped place, illegally, out of ignorance," said Judge Cobb.

So Hays County is working with Parking Mobility to train volunteers to help catch drivers using handicapped parking spaces illegally.

Find out more about Parking Mobility:

Volunteers who are deputized will use their smart phones to take three pictures:

• The rear of the vehicle (license plate and make/model of vehicle).
• The parking spot showing both the vehicle and the disabled parking signs.
• The front windshield of the vehicle showing no disabled placard or ID.

These photos are required to issue a ticket. Once the photos are submitted, Parking Mobility automatically adds other violation data including time, date, street address and GPS coordinates and immediately submits the report to the city where the violation took place. Then a citation is mailed to the vehicle's owner.

The new Hays County program gives drivers two options:

• Pay a $500 fine.
• Pay $250 for an online education course.

The online course educates drivers about why they shouldn't park illegally in handicapped spaces.

"I'm ready," said disabled veteran Alan Cameron who is signing up for the training.

"I live it and see it in Hays County. We have a real need in this," said Cameron.

Parking Mobility says one in four cars using disabled parking, shouldn't.

But, for those who need to park a little closer, starting July 1 Hays County wants to make sure no one takes up space where they shouldn't.

By Bettie CrossSmartphones Help Ticket Drivers

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