Disabled Parking in Texas: All You Need to Know
The Lone Star state has a lot of things going for it: beautiful scenic landscapes, friendly, welcoming inhabitants, a great foodie scene, reliable weather, and of course, that ol’ Texan rebel spirit, which the whole county prides itself on. Many people visit Texas for the reasons above, or a plethora of others – but how does the southern state stack up in the disabled parking rankings? Each state has a slightly different approach to disabled parking, and if you’re a Texas resident who is eligible for a permit, or if you’re just planning on visiting the Lone Star state and already have a disabled permit, it’s handy to know the ins and outs of how the laws work. So when it comes to disabled parking in Texas, here’s all you need to know!
Unfortunately, disabled parking across America isn’t governed by a unified federal law. Each of the 50 states make their own laws, and can vary to some degree or another. No state is wildly out of line with the others, and most major disabilities are eligible for a permit wherever you go in the country. The Americans with Disabilities Act is the only federal law that protects people with disabilities, but this important piece of legislature only covers discrimination against disabled citizens, and doesn’t outline any specific guidelines for interstate handicap parking. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at what the Texas government has come up with for its disabled drivers.
First, let’s look at the types of disabled placards available for disabled parking in Texas. There are two main types of indicator: placards and license plates. A blue placard is for people with permanent disabilities, whereas a red one signifies people with temporary disabilities. In terms of license plates, ISA (International Symbol of Access) plates are available for anyone with a permanent disability, and DV (Disabled Veteran) plates are for qualified disabled military veterans. The ISA is that familiar white wheelchair outline on a blue background, an instantly recognizable symbol that designates handicap access all over the world. All types of placards and plates allow the bearer to park in spaces designated for people with disabilities, and also park for free in metered spaces.
All permits issued in other states and countries can be used for disabled parking in Texas, as long as they are valid and conform to state law. Conversely, all permits from Texas can be utilized in other states and countries. If you’re looking at a longer stay in the Lone Star state for medical reasons and suffer from a permanent disability, you can apply for a temporary Texas disabled parking permit, to make your parking smoother during your stay. It’s confusing for a temporary parking permit to be distributed for a permanent disability, but it is an option for those who intend to be in Texas for longer than the average holiday.
Applying for a disabled parking permit in Texas is fairly straightforward, but there are a few guidelines you have to follow. Broadly, applications can be made to your local Texas tax collector’s office, and are accepted by mail or in person. There are a few things you need to gather before you apply for a placard or license plate, so make sure you get all your required materials together before sending off the application. First off, you need your application form, officially known as Form VTR-214. You also need a medical certification on the application form, signed by a medical professional – whichever branch is most suited to your disability. If you have a permanent disability, there’s no fee for applying for a placard, but if you have a temporary one, the handling fee is $5. When it comes to license plates, fees vary for each country, so check with your local tax office if you’re unsure. You must also include a form of verified identification; a driver’s license usually works best.
Bear in mind that even permanent placards and license plates have to be renewed. For the former, it’s every four years, and for the latter, every twelve months. Temporary placards are valid for up to six months, and you can apply for a second one if your disability is still affecting you after that time. In terms of qualifying conditions, Texas follows the standard guidelines of most other states and covers most physical disabilities. Any mobility problem that can impair a person’s movement is applicable, as are visual problems that result in visual acuity of 20/200 in the better eye with correcting lenses, or produce a limited field of vision.
All in all, for a Dixie state with a rebel reputation, utilizing a Texas handicap parking permit is surprisingly easy. They have a generous list of qualifying conditions, and a straightforward application process. If you have a disability and were thinking of making use of disabled parking in Texas, then hopefully the path ahead is clear for you.