Getting A Disabled Parking Permit In Louisiana
While many protocols are governed on a national level in the U.S., unfortunately for disabled patients across the country, handicap parking is not one of them. Patients are protected from discrimination on a nationwide scale by the Americans with Disabilities Act, but the regulations surrounding disabled parking are decided on a state-by-state level. Despite this, nearly all disabled parking placards issued in the U.S. are valid in all states, so you don’t have to worry about applying for a new one if you’re crossing state lines. In fact, you can use your permit in most countries in the world; nearly all of them make allowances for disabled permits originating from any region.
Like everything official, there are a few hoops to jump through before you can get your hands on a disabled parking permit. Each of the 50 states operates somewhat differently, although their basic remits are the same. The biggest difference between them emerges when you take into account the qualifying conditions for each one; these vary almost state-to-state in the finer details.
Louisiana is often identified as a state with a lot of identity. Its swampy marshes and Cajun heritage make it one of the most interesting spots in America; many tourists visit New Orleans every year to enjoy the local colors and flavors. But how does Louisiana disabled parking stack up, and how can you avail of a disabled parking permit if you live there?
First of all, you have to have a disability. This may sound obvious, but it can’t just be any disability – it has to be one that meets Louisiana’s list of qualifying conditions. You’re eligible to receive a disabled placard if you cannot walk 200 feet without stopping to take a rest; use portable oxygen; cannot walk without assistance from a person or implement (including blind or visually impaired patients); suffer from a restrictive lung disease; have a specific debilitating cardiac condition; or have a diagnosed disease or disorder that creates severe mobility impairment. The list of qualifying conditions is therefore quite extensive, and provides solid coverage for many disabled Louisiana residents who want to have their lives enhanced by a disabled parking permit.
To obtain a placard, patients must procure and provide a Medical Examiner’s Certification of Mobility Impairment, signed by their medical health professional. The patient then presents this at their local Motor Tax Office, and if they can’t do it in person, they must provide a full color photograph in place. There is a small fee of $3.00 when applying for placards of any type, including temporary, permanent, renewal, lost, stolen, or damaged. Temporary placards are issued for one year, and cover short-term disabilities or situations that require assistance, such as a broken limb or a pregnancy. Permanent placards are reserved for more serious disabilities that affect patients for much of their lives, like ALS or paralysis-inducing neurological conditions.
In addition to placards, which are issued to both permanent and temporary patients, permanently disabled people or people who regularly transport disabled patients can also obtain a license plate, which is a more visible method of utilizing disabled parking. The fee for these is $10, and they’re valid for two years at a time. These also require certification by a medical professional.
Louisiana also recognizes all permits and plates from all 49 other states, meaning that you can utilize any disabled space as long as you follow the specific Louisiana state rules.
These rules are pretty general, and follow along the lines of other states. A placard or a plate allows you to park in a space designated for people with disabilities. You can park there for two hours longer than the posted time limits, and three hours longer if you happen to be within the New Orleans city limits. The only caveat to this is if parking is prohibited because of traffic, you’re parked in a fire lane, or your vehicle is a traffic hazard. To place your placard correctly, you must hang it from your rear-view mirror, or place it on the vehicle dashboard if you do not have a mirror.
It’s worth keeping in mind that you can be fined or jailed for misuse of your disabled parking placard, which includes lending it to someone else, using an out-of-date placard, or, for drivers or carers, utilizing the disabled spaces when the patient in question isn’t with you. These rules are virtually identical all over the country, and penalties for abusing a disabled parking permit are severe, so make sure you keep track of when yours runs out of date.
It’s quite easy to avail of disabled parking in Louisiana; if you’re a disabled patient and you haven’t yet looked into it, make sure you do. It can give you a whole new lease on life, allowing you to travel around your city or town with more confidence and freedom.