Can I Use My Disabled Parking Permit in a Friend’s Car?

Dr Handicap - car driving

The short answer to the question “Can I use my disabled parking permit in a friend’s car?” is a resounding “Yes, you can!” Let’s look at how this is possible. Maybe you’re already the owner of a disabled parking permit, or perhaps you’re thinking about applying for one. If you have an impairment which makes driving, parking, or simply getting in and out of your car a challenge, then you may well qualify for a disabled badge, which could make life a little easier for you.

A disabled permit is usually available in two different formats. One format marks your car’s license plates in a specific way that tells parking enforcement officers that you have the required permit to park in a disabled parking spot. The other is a certificate that can hang from your rear-view mirror, or anywhere it’s visible to a person outside the car.

Everything’s very straightforward so far – but what isn’t so obvious is whether your disabled parking permit can be used in a friend’s car, where your friend is doing the driving and you are the passenger. For this to be legal, you need to have a portable disabled badge, and it needs to be visible in your friend’s car when you park. It’s easy to understand why this use of a disabled parking permit isn’t apparent to everyone. You might think that a driver who doesn’t have any kind of disability should not be allowed to park in the allocated special parking spots. But if you, the passenger, are disabled in some way, then that is the criterion here. Your able-bodied friend is there to help you get out of the car and to assist you with crutches, a wheelchair, or any other device you might need in order to walk. So, naturally, they should be allowed to park in a dedicated disabled parking spot.

Dr. Handicap - handicap parking sign

This doesn’t just apply to friends, of course; you can use your disabled parking permit in your partner’s car, your child’s car, or the car of a neighbor who might be helping you out on the odd occasion. So long as you have your permit with you and it’s visible when you park the car, you’re good to go.

If you haven’t considered this before, it’s worth thinking about. You may understandably enjoy the freedom and the independence that driving your own car gives you. You’re not reliant on anyone to get you from A to B: to your work, to the store, or to an appointment. However, there could be times when you simply don’t feel like driving – or perhaps you’re facing a long journey, or have to attend a medical appointment and you know you’ll be too tired to drive home afterwards. On these occasions, without your portable disabled badge you would have to rely on public transport, or, if you did travel with a friend/partner without your badge, you might have difficulty parking close to where you’re going, which also means you could find it very tough getting in and out of the car due to lack of space around you. It’s much better to have that all-important transferable disabled parking permit so you can make use of a dedicated parking spot.

Dr Handicap - parking lot

If you don’t yet own such a permit but think you might be entitled to one, it’s worth checking out the qualifying medical conditions. These tend to vary depending on which state you live in, but specific types of impairment would normally be valid everywhere. These include: if you need portable oxygen when walking; if you have any prosthetic limbs; if you need assistance with walking – a cane, stick, crutches or a wheelchair; if you’re unable to walk a short set distance without resting; and if you’re registered blind. The latter obviously only applies to when you’re a passenger in someone else’s car, and again, this use of a disabled parking permit might not be known to everyone. If you’re visually impaired, the fact that your driver can park in a disabled parking spot will make life a little easier for you, as these dedicated spots are always conveniently located, and the American with Disabilities Act states that “parking access aisles shall be part of an accessible route to the building or facility entrance.”

Hopefully this has helped answer the question of using your handicap parking permit in a friend’s car, and given you some things to think about. If you already own a disabled parking permit then maybe, after reading this, you’ll find more uses for it. If you don’t own one but think you might qualify for one, take the first step by applying online for a relaxed assessment with one of our in-house doctors. There’s no need to travel in order to be evaluated; simply do it from the comfort of your own home.