10 Myths About Disabled Parking

Dr. Handicap - handicap sign and flower

Unfortunately, there are many myths circulating around disabled parking. This lack of knowledge creates confusion about handicap parking permits, as well as stereotypes or incorrect ideas about the disabled population. To combat the misinformation, read on to help dispel some of these myths.

  1. It’s difficult to get a handicap parking permit.

Although there are several steps you need to go through in order to obtain a handicap placard, it’s not an impossible process. There is an online service, Dr. Handicap, that works as an intermediary between you and your state’s DMV to help you get your handicap placard if you qualify. The site also helps connect you with a physician who can evaluate your claim and help you through the application process. A completed and signed form then gets sent to you, which you can submit to your state’s DMV. This streamlined process takes away any unnecessary steps so you can get your handicap parking permit more quickly.

  1. Only people in wheelchairs need handicap parking.

This myth allows for some people to get frustrated when they see a mobile person leaving a car parked in a handicap spot. However, you do not need to be in a wheelchair to need disabled parking. In fact, you can have anything from vision impairment to lung disease and still need a handicap placard for your car.

  1. If you can walk, you don’t “deserve” a handicap placard.

There are many judgments attached to using a handicap placard. But it’s very important that all drivers remember that no one is “deserving” of a placard. If a physician has determined that an individual needs a handicap placard, then they’ve earned it, so to speak. Like we mentioned above, many people need closer parking spaces because of disabilities that might not be visible to casual observers. So, even if you can walk, you still might need disabled parking.

Dr Handicap - wheelchair
  1. Only elderly people need disabled parking permits.

Many people get perturbed if they see a young person exiting a car with a handicap placard. However, young people are not immune to disabilities just because of their age. In fact, many young people are faced with lack of mobility because of serious conditions that are no less valid just because of their age. Disabled parking permits are available to drivers of all ages, because disabilities or serious health conditions can strike any age group.

  1. You can park in the crosshatch section next to the disabled spot.

Drivers should remember that the crosshatch section next to disabled parking spots are not free to park in! In fact, these sections have a purpose – they are there so that individuals can get in and out of their cars and into wheelchairs more easily. So no one should park in them! People should also keep in mind that disabled parking permits do not allow drivers to park anywhere they want. They have to follow the same restrictions as any other driver, except when it comes to designated handicap parking spots.

  1. You can park in a handicap parking space if you’re only gone for 5 minutes.

This is a myth that some people insist on, when in fact it’s completely inaccurate. Even if you’re just running into a store for a minute, handicap spots are only for individuals with placards – it doesn’t matter how long you’re going to use it for. These spots are designated for those folks that need them, not just if you’re in a hurry and couldn’t take the time to find an appropriate parking place.

  1. You can’t transfer your placard to another car.

Some people believe that you can’t transfer your handicap placard to another vehicle. However, as long as the disabled person is in the car, you can use it on any vehicle you wish. Just remember that this tactic doesn’t work if you have a handicap license plate – these can’t be switched to another car.

Dr Handicap - driver
  1. If you can drive, then you’re not “disabled.”

Individuals with “invisible” illnesses often face judgment from others about whether they truly need a handicap placard. However, there are many disabilities an individual can have that don’t affect their ability to drive but do affect their mobility. For example, someone with heart disease can effectively operate a car, but would have difficulty walking a far distance from their car to a shop or business. They’re still disabled, but have no problems driving.

  1. Your disability has to be visible to get a handicap spot.

Like we mentioned above, you don’t need to have a visible condition in order to need a disabled parking permit. You just need to meet the criteria for being disabled. This can mean you have vision, respiratory, or heart problems, you’re obese, or you have a prosthetic limb (among other conditions). Some of these disabilities might not be visible to others, but they will still qualify you to have assistance with a handicap placard.

  1. Your friends and family can use your handicap parking permit.

No one can use your handicap placard if you’re not there! If you’re in the vehicle, the driver can park in a handicap parking space. However, you absolutely cannot let your friends and family use your placard unless you’re accompanying them. You could even have your permit revoked if law enforcement believes you aren’t using your placard correctly.

If you’re not sure about the facts surrounding disabled parking, make sure to read up and get accurate information. And pay attention to these myths to ensure you understand the inaccuracies about handicap parking permits!