Disabled parking in North Carolina, as in all other states, has become easier since the introduction of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990. This act covers far-reaching and diverse laws that have been brought in to protect disabled people from discrimination in all areas of life. Thanks to this act, disabled parking for those who qualify for a North Carolina handicap parking permit is now more accessible and more available. Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about accessing disabled parking in North Carolina.
Do I qualify for a North Carolina disabled parking permit?
Qualifying conditions for disabled parking badges are similar across the country, but they do vary a little from state to state. North Carolina simplifies its requirements by stating that such permits can be awarded to citizens who:
- Are unable to walk without assistance;
- Have mobility impairments caused by one or more of the following: defective vision, lung disease, cardiac, neurological, orthopedic or arthritic conditions.
If you suffer from any of these conditions, the next thing you might want to know is how to get a disabled parking permit in North Carolina. Your best course of action is to download Form MVR-37A from the DMV website or call into your local branch for a copy. You will then need to visit a relevant physician in order to complete the form. A relevant physician means one who is able to comment on you particular condition. For example, you may visit an ophthalmologist for a vision problem; a cardiac specialist for heart issues; and a physiotherapist for arthritic or mobility complaints.
If this sounds too daunting a prospect, or perhaps you’re not currently registered with an appropriate physician, then we can help you at Dr Handicap. We have medical experts on hand in every state who are able to assess you via telemedicine and complete your form, meaning you don’t have to leave your house or stress about a face-to-face appointment. Our expert will need to access your medical records, but as we are fully HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)-compliant, you don’t need to be worried about privacy. If our expert deems that you would qualify for a disabled parking permit in North Carolina, you simply have to send the completed form to North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles, 3148 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27697-3148, and your North Carolina handicap parking permit should soon be winging its way to you in the mail.
Different types of North Carolina disabled parking permit
There are two types of permits for disabled parking in North Carolina: permanent and temporary. The former is valid for five years and the latter for six months only. A temporary placard, as the name implies, is for a non-permanent disability. This could be a broken or injured arm or leg, a short-term illness, or even pregnancy. Temporary permits are not eligible for renewal. Permanent permits do require renewing every five years; you will need re-certification by a qualifying physician in order to renew your North Carolina disabled parking permit. Renewal must be applied for no later than 90 days prior to the expiry date.
Remember that it’s illegal to use designated disabled parking spaces without an in-date parking permit. In addition to the regular permanent and temporary permits, the DMV in North Carolina also offers disabled parking placards to any organization that regularly transports people suffering from a disability.
How do I use my disabled parking permit in North Carolina?
If you qualify for a permanent parking permit, this can either be in the form of a placard, or you can apply for special license plates. Plates can obviously only be used on one car, whereas a placard is portable and can be used in any car in which you are either the driver or a passenger. A placard should be hung from the vehicle’s rearview mirror so that it’s clearly visible to any parking attendant checking the car.
You may wonder where exactly you can park once you have your disabled parking permit in North Carolina. You might be surprised to learn that all public parking lots are required by law to have a certain number of designated disabled parking spots. Moreover, these spots should be close to the building or facility the parking lot serves. They will be easily identifiable by the international wheelchair symbol. Some spaces may be bigger than others; you are advised to park in a space that fits your vehicle. In other words, if you have a small vehicle, don’t park in a van-size space, as these are designed for wheelchair-accessible vans or cars.
There is no limit to how long you can stay in designated disabled parking spots with your North Carolina handicap parking permit. In some towns or districts in North Carolina, you are also permitted to stay longer than advertised in a regular parking spot. It’s worth checking where you can do this, though; don’t just assume you can anywhere, otherwise you might fall foul of the law!
Hopefully this short guide to disabled parking in North Carolina has answered some of your questions. If you think you might qualify for a North Carolina disabled parking permit, we’d be pleased to help you here at Dr. Handicap. Remember that if you qualify for and receive a disabled parking permit in North Carolina, you must make sure it’s always clearly displayed; it can only be used when you are the driver or a passenger; and it must be renewed before the expiry date. Should you lose your permit or have it stolen, you will have to re-submit forms and certification from a relevant physician. So keep that permit handy at all times and keep it safe!