PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) _ Providence police say they've caught numerous people misusing handicapped parking placards in a new enforcement effort.

Officers say they recently began checking people's placards after parking enforcement officers noticed an unusual number of cars with the permits parked outside businesses and the train station.

Police have been questioning people about their handicapped placards and issuing $500 fines if the placards aren't being used legitimately. They're also seizing misused permits.

Officers say many violators were caught using a relative's or friend's handicapped permit, while others offered varying excuses. One woman told police she was using her partner's permit to park on Exchange Street in case she needed to rush home in an emergency.

 Disabled drivers say they appreciate the effort, because they've seen people misusing the placards for years.

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