In Fairfax County, the cost of convenience, haste and all the other well-worn excuses for parking in a space reserved for the physically disabled will soon double to $100.

That is the fine on each parking ticket that will peek out from under the windshield wipers of able-bodied motorists who violate handicapped parking restrictions starting in May.

The Board of Supervisors recently doubled the fine after county police reported they had cited about 700 handicapped parking violations during one week of heightened enforcement last fall. Before the ticket blitz, police were accustomed to issuing tickets for about 50 such violations each week.

"Obviously, there is room for improvement," said Peter Clark, staff coordinator of the county Commission for Disabled Persons. "It's one of those things in life where it's not a big deal unless you're in that situation" as a disabled motorist displaced from a parking space, "and then you cannot imagine the frustration."

Officer Boyd Thompson added: "The real need is to change people's attitudes, their thinking that, 'It's only going to be for a few minutes, so I'll go ahead and park here.' "

Until recently, when the commission started working more closely with the police department, enforcement of handicapped parking rules was spotty. "Generally, when an officer observed an infraction, or we got a phone call, that's when we'd take action," Lt. Dana Libby said.

Libby said the 700 parking violations made police more aware of the extent to which reserved parking rules are abused. "Now officers are more aware of where the restricted parking spaces are," he added.

The police also are considering a proposal to recruit physically disabled volunteers to help enforce the parking restrictions.

"Using the handicapped volunteers will do two things. It puts another set of eyes in the car beside the officer, spotting the violations, {and it} makes the officers more aware, just by dealing with these people," Libby said.

The number of parking tickets police issued during the ticket blitz did not surprise Brenda Plum, a Reston resident who, as a wheelchair user, depends every day on the availability of the wide, strategically situated parking spaces.

"It's one of my pet peeves. The able-bodied will say: 'There's so many spaces available,' and they will park in a reserved space, and then you drive up 10 minutes later and can't find a spot," Plum said.

"I have gone to shopping centers where I couldn't find parking and had to go somewhere else."

As a member of the commission, Plum is vigilant of her rights as a physically disabled county resident. She said she abhors the word "handicapped" because "it goes back to a person on the street corner taking handouts in a cap." She said she dislikes the word "disabled" because it reminds her of news reports about trucks that break down on highways, and "I'm not broken down." Plum said she sometimes calls the police from parking lots to report motorists who illegally park in the reserved spaces. "The police would ask me if I'd wait there, and I'd say yes, because there I am at the Giant trying to park, and it's worth it to me."