5 Myths About Disabled Parking

Dr Handicap - disabled parking kerb sign
  1. You Can Lend Your Pass to People in Your Family

It would be nice if this one were true, but unfortunately it’s just not the case. When disabled permits are assigned to patients, be they placards, license plates, or tags, they are for use by the specified patient only. There are no exceptions to this rule. The patient whose name is on the tag needs to be present in the vehicle for it to park legally in a disabled parking space. It doesn’t matter if they are driving or if they’re the passenger; they just have to be present. The penalties for breaking this law can be severe, from losing your permit rights to paying a four-figure fine, so make sure you always know where your permit is, and make sure your family and friends know you must be present in the vehicle for them to use disabled parking.

  1. All Disabled Parking Spaces are the Same

To the untrained eye, all disabled parking spaces may appear the same, but there are actually some subtle differences between them that can help drivers and patients discern which space is best suited to them and their vehicle. The most common spaces are the ones for cars; these are easy to spot, as they are marked with a sign or are painted blue, and feature a 60-inch aisle next to the space for additional maneuverability. The next type of space is for vans with a one-sided entry. These are similar to the car spaces, but feature a wider aisle on the passenger side (96 inches wide), with the accompanying signs marking them out as “Van Accessible”. The last type of space you’ll see is designed for double-sided vans and features a white striped aisle on both sides of the space. A rough ratio sees one van accessible space for every six car spaces, so it’s good to know what to look out for.

Dr Handicap - person in wheelchair
  1. Disabled Parking Laws are the Same in Every State

While it would certainly save a lot of headaches if disabled parking law was united under a federal umbrella, unfortunately, this is not the case. Each state decides their own laws with regards to disabled parking, meaning that you’ll have to carefully check the specific legislation for your home state. The good news, however, is twofold; firstly, most states don’t differ too wildly when it comes to their laws, and secondly, a parking permit from one specific state is valid in all fifty states. This means you don’t have to worry about switching permits or applying for new ones. However, you should be aware of specific laws states have that may impede your visit if you’re traveling there. For example, New York City has its own set of disabled parking permits, separate to the New York state ones. No state permit is permissible for disabled parking in NYC; you must apply for a specific city one, or else find a regular place to park. Also, when it comes to qualifying conditions, every state’s legislation differs. While all of them make obvious disabilities standard, there are some differences when it comes to other disorders. Make sure to thoroughly discuss your potential application with your local doctor.

Dr Handicap - wheelchair user in car
  1. You Can’t Drive If You Are Issued a Disabled Parking Permit

Some people seem to think that just because you’re issued with a disabled parking permit, you can’t drive a vehicle. Conversely, if they see a lone person parking in a space with no obvious disability, they think that person is abusing the system. This is not always the case, and it’s a good thing to remember that not all diseases and disabilities are visible to the naked eye. Also, just because you’re legitimately disabled, doesn’t mean you can’t drive or operate a vehicle responsibly. Many disabled people don’t want to or have to give up the freedom of movement just because they have a handicap; a disabled parking permit helps these patients maneuver around their city with ease, helping them to leave a full and active life.

  1. You Never Have to Renew a Permanent Permit

There are two types of disabled parking permits that most states issue: permanent ones and temporary ones. The latter are used, fairly obviously, for temporary handicaps, such as broken limbs or late-stage pregnancies. They generally last for a year and can be renewed if applicable. The other form of permit is a permanent one, reserved for those patients who suffer from incurable diseases or disorders that restrict movement or lung and heart capacity. These remits cover a wide array of disorders in most states, but remember, you still need to renew your permit, even if you’re granted a permanent one. These generally last three or four years, but if you try to use them after they’ve expired, you will be penalized, regardless of any obvious disability you might have. Remember to stay on top of renewing your permits, and send off your new application in good time to ensure you or your disabled family member can enjoy staying on the road!