Can You Have More Than One Handicap Placard?

Dr Handicap - disabled parking spots

Disabled parking permits are a lifeline to many individuals with disabilities. They allow patients to move freely about their cities, providing them with a less stressful experience when they want to leave their homes. The application process and overall state qualifications are relatively simple, no matter who you are; each state has its own DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) that sets the criteria, accepts applications, and assigns permits. However, many people may wonder, “Can you have more than one handicap placard?” Or even “Can I use someone else’s disabled parking permit?” These are valid questions, and it’s important that people know the rules before you apply for your permit.

Dr. Handicap - Blue Handicap Parking Sign

It is illegal to use someone else's handicap parking permit. Photo by arembowski on Pixabay.

Can I Own Multiple Disabled Parking Permits?

Before we answer the question of how many handicap placards you can have, let’s take a look at who exactly can qualify for a disabled parking permit. Although each state sets its own qualifying conditions, the core list doesn’t really vary across the country. It’s important to keep in mind that the final say on whether a person should or shouldn’t be granted a permit is left in the hands of the examining physician. If the qualifying conditions are vague or generalized, then this can lend itself to a lot of scope for physicians to recommend patients. 

Millions of Americans have physical disabilities that might necessitate a handicap parking permit. These permits come in two forms: a plastic tag that hangs inside the car, usually on the rear-view mirror, or a more permanent license plate that drivers fix to the back bumper. Both prominently display the wheelchair symbol, known as the International Symbol of Access (ISA), and come in a variety of different colors, depending on the permit assigned. 

Can You Have More Than One Handicap Placard?

No matter which state you’re in, the rules are very clear on this. Only one permit is allocated per person. It’s important to remember a distinction here: a handicap parking permit is assigned to the person, not the vehicle. So even though it might stay in the primary vehicle, the permit is only valid when the disabled owner is inside. Although you cannot be assigned more than one disabled parking permit, it is totally legal to move your permit from one vehicle or another, provided you are traveling in it. Disabled parking permits are designed to reduce physical and mental stress in patients’ lives. No matter which vehicle you’re traveling in, you can avail of that right.

Can I Use Someone Else’s Disabled Parking Permit?

The rules on this one are also very clear. When you receive your disabled parking permit, you’re the only one who is allowed to use it. You can be a passenger or a driver in the vehicle, but you must be present if said vehicle is using a disabled parking space. Of course, the vehicle can be driven by your family when you’re not present, with the placard or plates still visible. They just won’t be able to park in the handicap zones. Willful misuse of a handicap placard has varying consequences from state to state, which may include cancellation of the permit, fines, community service, or prosecution.

The other thing to remember is that disabled placards are viewed as temporary, not permanent. So yes, after a certain time, you will have to renew your permit. In this way, you can have more than one handicap placard over the course of your life if you suffer from a prolonged or permanent disability. However, the situation will never arise where you have two permits at the same time.

Dr. Handicap - Disabled Parking Spot

Can you have more than one Disabled Parking Permit? The law is quite clear; no. Photo by AbsolutVision on Pixabay.

Can A Caregiver Get A Disabled Parking Permit?

Many disabled people rely on caregivers to help them through day-to-day life. But if you’re wondering, “Can a caregiver get a disabled parking permit?”, the answer is no. Handicap placards for caregivers don’t exist because permits are only issued to people with disabilities. The process starts with your primary health care provider. They will advise you about the requirements, and tell you whether your condition qualifies or not. You can find a qualified physician and apply to the DMV online, streamlining the whole process and reducing stress. However, once you receive the placard or plates, they will be in your name only. Your caregiver can use the permit, of course, as long as you are in the vehicle with them. 

Traveling With A Disabled Parking Permit

If you are traveling out of state, you may have to apply for a temporary permit. This would be an exception, where you might have multiple permits at one time. However, only one of them will be valid. California, for example, requires that all disabled visitors with placards apply for a 90 day travel placard from the California DMV. Plates are often honored in all fifty states, as they are permanently affixed to the vehicle. Best practice is to check well in advance of your trip, allowing you time to make any preparations related to your permit.

Featured image by Robert Ruggiero on Unsplash