The Facts About the Rhode Island Disabled Parking Program

Dr Handicap - Rhode Island lighthouse
Dr Handicap - Rhode Island lighthouse

Rhode Island lies neatly between Massachusetts and Connecticut on America’s northeastern seaboard. This small state sits just south of Boston and a short drive from other major northeastern cities such as New York City and Philadelphia.

Rhode Island has a few sizable cities of its own. Most notable is the state capital Providence with its compact, old-European-style center, elegant neoclassical buildings, and world-famous coffee and donut shops. Brown University, one of the nation’s best Ivy League schools, is located in the city.

Rhode Island faces onto the Atlantic Ocean and has plenty of wonderfully cute little colonial seaside towns dotted along its jagged coast. Unsurprisingly, prime-quality seafood is easy to find in “The Ocean State.” Rhode Island clam chowder is to die for!

Due to its numerous attractions, multiple large universities, and proximity to several of the nation’s largest cities, Rhode Island attracts a lot of visitors. So, how does Rhode Island cater to its native disabled drivers, and to disabled drivers who are visiting the state?

Rhode Island has an effective and easy to understand disabled parking program that can be utilized by its disabled residents and by disabled people who hold permits from other states.

Here are all the facts about the Rhode Island disabled parking program.

Dr Handicap - Rhode Island

Types of Disabled Parking Permit Available in Rhode Island

Rhode Island has four types of disabled parking permit. A temporary placard for Rhode Island disabled parking is designed for people expected to be disabled for from two to 12 months. A long-term disabled parking placard is for people who are expected to be disabled for from one to three years. A permanent placard is for people who will be disabled for more than three years. A Disabled Veterans placard is also available in Rhode Island. Disabled veterans are also entitled to a free license plate alongside their DV placard if they so wish.

Validity of Out-of-State Handicap Parking Permits in Rhode Island

Out-of-state permits are valid in Rhode Island. Disabled drivers who hold permits from all other states are entitled to avail of the same handicap parking rights as Rhode Island permit-holders in the state.

Rights of Disabled Parking Permit Holders in Rhode Island

Holders of a disabled parking placard or plate from Rhode Island or any other U.S. state are entitled to park in any designated disabled parking space in Rhode Island. These spaces are marked with the universal symbol of access.

Disabilities That Qualify a Person for Rhode Island Disabled Parking

In Rhode Island, the list of disabilities that qualify a person to get a disabled parking placard is somewhat more limited than in most other states.

In order to qualify for a Rhode Island disabled parking placard, a person must have one or more of the following disabilities:

  • They cannot walk without using a crutch, cane, brace, prosthetic device, other person, or wheelchair for support
  • They have a lung disease to the extent that their forced (respiratory) expiratory volume for one second, when measured by spirometry, is less than one liter, or the arterial oxygen tension is less than 60 mm/hg on room air at rest
  • They need to use a portable oxygen tank
  • They have a heart condition designated as Class III or Class IV by the American Heart Association
  • They are legally blind (with visual of 20/200 or less with corrective lenses).
Dr Handicap - parking sign on pavement

How To Apply For Disabled Parking in Rhode Island

To apply for a Rhode Island disabled parking placard, a person must first download an application form. This form needs to be completed by the applicant and also by a physician with an RI medical license. The physician will need to verify that the applicant has one or more of the previously mentioned disabilities. Once the application form has been completed, it must be submitted by post to:

Division of Motor Vehicles
Disability Parking Placards Office
600 New London Ave
Cranston, RI 02920

Disabled veterans need to submit a DV application form along with a copy of their Veterans Association disability letter to the same address.

Applications generally take up to one month to process.

How to Renew a Permit for Disabled Parking in Rhode Island

To renew a temporary or long-term placard, a new application must be made, complete with a new certification from a licensed physician. To renew a permanent placard, a person will need to submit the application form that the DMV will mail to them just prior to the expiration date of their original permit.

How To Replace a Stolen, Damaged, or Lost Disabled Parking Permit in Rhode Island

To replace a stolen placard or plate, a person will need to file a stolen disability placard incident report with their local police department, and then submit a copy of the incident report and a copy of their driver’s license or ID to the DMV.

To replace a damaged placard, a person needs to submit only the placard itself. To replace a lost placard, a person will need to submit an Affidavit for Lost Parking Placard form.

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