Disabled Parking In California: All You Need To Know

Dr Handicap - California
Dr Handicap - California

The rules and regulations regarding disabled parking permits in California are similar to those in most other U.S. states. But like most other states, California disabled parking law has a few unique elements and quirks that it’s important to be aware of. Here is all you need to know about disabled parking in California.

Qualifying Conditions

The list of qualifying disabilities in California is long and includes heart disease; rheumatoid arthritis and arthritis; respiratory disease; any illness that requires the use of a portable oxygen tank; lupus; many chronic inflammatory diseases; sight or hearing problems; acute sunlight sensitivity; any condition that requires the use of a wheelchair, crutches, or Zimmer frame; or having a prosthetic limb. The final say on whether a person qualifies for disabled parking in California is left to the discretion of the medical professional who examines them and fills in their medical certificate.

Types of Disabled Parking Badge

California’s disabled parking badge program is administered by the California Department of Motor Vehicles. The California DMV gives out a few different types of disabled parking placards and plates. You can get a permanent plate or placard, a temporary placard, or a travel placard. Permanent plates and placards are for people who have permanent disabilities. Temporary placards are available for people who only need them for a finite period, such as people with a temporary injury, people who are recovering from an operation, or pregnant women. Temporary placards in California are only valid for six months. However, they can be renewed up to six times. Each renewal will require a new doctor’s certificate. Travel placards are for permanently disabled people who are traveling outside their home state. A travel placard in valid for 30 days if a California resident is traveling outside California, or for 90 days if a resident from another state is traveling inside California.

Although, strictly speaking, you should have a travel placard if you are visiting California from another jurisdiction, law enforcement in the state almost always honors disabled plates and placards from other states and countries.

Dr. Handicap - yellow handicap parking place

Costs and Fees

In California, brand-new or replacement permanent disabled placards, as well as travel placards, are free. But a temporary placard will cost $6. Your first disabled person license plate is free, but if you need a replacement it will cost $21.

Where a California Disabled Parking Placard Enables You to Park

With a California disabled parking placard or plate, you are entitled to park in any marked disabled parking space (marked with blue curbs or the international wheelchair symbol), in short-term “green curb” spaces for an unlimited time, in spaces designated for residents or merchants, and at metered spaces for free. A disabled placard does not entitle a person to park in the striped areas next to disabled spaces (which are preserved to allow wheelchair access to the adjacent space), in red, yellow, or white curb spaces, or in private spaces that are marked with a name or license plate number.

How to Apply For Disabled Parking in California

If you are applying for a California handicap parking placard for the first time, you will need to have a consultation with a medical professional in order for them to verify that you require disabled parking. This can be done in person at a doctor’s surgery or remotely using telemedicine. Once the medical professional deems you suitable for a parking placard, they will complete an application form. You then submit your application to the California DMV. This can be done either in person or by mail.

Dr Handicap - Hollywood

If you decide to submit your application in person, it is advised that you make an appointment ahead of time. If you decide to apply by mail, you will need to download an application form and have a medical professional fill it in, and then post it (along with any payment if necessary) to the California DMV. If you are applying in person and you are an amputee, you do not require a medical certificate.

In California, disabled placards (even permanent ones) expire after two years. Placards are automatically renewed and posted to you twice, but on the third renewal date you need to re-apply by filling in a new certificate, although this time it is not necessary to have it filled in by a medical professional. If you change address, it is important to notify the California DMV by mailing them a Notice of Change of Address form.

If you have a temporary disabled placard, it will expire after six months. If you require a new one you will need to submit a new application form. You can do this up to six times, and each time you will need to have your application form filled in by a medical professional.

And that’s it; all you need to know about disabled parking in California. Hopefully it was helpful!

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