Do You Always Need To Display Your Disabled Parking Permit?
The Americans with Disabilities Act was introduced and became law in 1990. Its purpose is to ensure that people with disabilities are afforded the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. It is actually a civil rights law, which disallows any discrimination based on disability. An amendment to the Act was passed in 2008 in relation to disabled parking and driving. The Act now dictates that handicap parking spots must be available in all public parking lots, with the minimum requirement being one designated spot per 25 spaces. If you own or think you might qualify for a disabled parking permit, then you will be able to utilize these special spots.
A disabled parking permit is generally available in two formats. One format is specially marked license plates, which would generally be on your own car that you drive. The second format is a handicap parking placard, which hangs inside the car somewhere – usually from the rear-view mirror. The beauty of the latter, of course, is that it’s portable. This means you can move it from one vehicle to another, which is handy if you’re driving someone else’s car or if you have a hire car, for example. As it’s a disabled parking permit and not a driving permit, a further advantage is that you can use your handicap parking placard in any car where you are the passenger. So if a friend, neighbor, or family member is driving you somewhere, your disabled parking permit is still valid, allowing you to park in any designated handicap parking spot.
The rules that apply to disabled parking placards are that they should not be hanging anywhere in the car while you’re driving, but that they must be visible inside the car once it’s parked. If your handicap parking placard is not visible to a parking attendant, then you may well receive a fine. So make sure you remember to take it with you at all times when you’re traveling in a friend or neighbor’s car.
Qualifying conditions for a disabled parking permit vary from state to state. Approximately half of all U.S. states include blindness as a qualifying disability, which clearly means that you can use it when you’re the passenger in a car, so you would have the portable hanging placard version in that case. Disabled parking placards actually come in a variety of colors, each with a different significance, which varies from state to state. Some states will allow you to park for free at city parking meters and also exempt you from time limits on parking. Again, your disabled parking permit must be clearly visible inside the car once parked.
It’s worth noting that fraudulent use of another person’s handicap parking placard is obviously not allowed in any part of the country and would result in a heavy fine.
If you don’t yet own a disabled parking permit but think you might be entitled to one, it would be a good idea to check out the relevant qualifying medical conditions that apply in your state. Specific types of incapacity are generally valid in all states. These include: being unable to walk a short distance without resting; requiring assistance when walking, such as the use of a cane, crutches, or a wheelchair; requiring portable oxygen; and using a prosthesis of any sort. As noted previously, if you are registered blind or partially sighted, this can also entitle you to a disabled parking permit.
The Americans with Disabilities Act doesn’t just state that disabled parking spots must be available; it also requires that the spaces are a minimum size (i.e. bigger than your average parking space). This is to allow more room for getting in and out of the car, and also to give you more space if you need to get a wheelchair in and out of the car. In addition, the Act dictates that handicap parking spots must be conveniently located with “parking access aisles part of an accessible route to the building or facility entrance.”
As you can see, there are many advantages to owning a disabled parking permit, should you require one. If you think you might qualify, then your best course of action is to apply with us online. One of our in-house specialists will carry out a stress-free evaluation, which can be done via video call if you prefer, rather than an in-person consultation. Some people find the fact that they don’t have to travel for the assessment far less stressful and intimidating. If you qualify, your disabled parking permit will be sent to you and you can start using it right away, in your own car or whenever you’re a passenger in someone else’s car. Just don’t forget that you shouldn’t hang it anywhere while the car is in motion, but that it must be visible inside the car once parked.