Can You Park Free At A Meter With A Handicap Placard In Texas?

Handicap parking in Texas comes with a lot of rules and regulations that everyone with a placard should be aware of. These rules are designed to help those with limited mobility get to where they need to go with ease. The parking regulations for people with handicap placards vary from place to place in Texas, but for the most part, disabled parking is accessible and free. So can you park for free at a meter with a handicap placard in Texas? And if so, where? Let’s find out.

What are the requirements for handicap parking in Texas?

To be able to park in Texas with a handicap placard, there are some criteria that you must first meet. Any of the following will qualify you for a disabled parking permit:

  • Inability to walk for 200 feet without resting
  • Inability to walk without an assistance device
  • Requires a wheelchair
  • Restricted from walking because of a lung disease
  • Uses portable oxygen
  • Has a cardiac condition that causes limitations
  • Limited mobility due to arthritic, neurological, or orthopedic conditions
  • Foot disorders that limits the ability to walk
  • Other health disorders deemed suitable by licensed health care professionals

You are also required to provide the signature of a medical provider on one of the approved forms that proves you require a handicap placard. The physician that signs off can be located in Texas or adjoining states such as Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, or Oklahoma. 

parking meter on street
Image by Saketh Garuda on Unsplash: Can you park for free at a meter with a handicap placard?

What are the rules for handicap parking spaces in Texas?

There are several rules that people must abide by when it comes to handicap parking in Texas. One specific law centers around placard expiration. If a person has parked in a spot and their placard is expired, they will have a 20 working day grace period where the person will be able to have the citation dismissed during that time.

People with up-to-date placards are allowed to park in a handicap spot for an unlimited amount of time, provided the vehicle is being used as a mode of transportation for a person with a disability. This law does not protect people against any fees or penalties that may be given by government or by a governmental unit for parking meters, in a parking lot or garage, or at a municipal airport. Those with handicap placards are still required to pay those parking fees.

There are certain exceptions to parking fees, though. For example, disabled veterans, or those who have received a Congressional Medal of Honor, Purple Heart, Legion of Valor, or Legion of Merit license plates, are exempt from parking fees. Prisoners of war and Pearl Harbor survivors are also exempt from those parking fees.

Who can park in handicap parking in Texas?

Everyone with a valid handicap placard is able to park in the handicap parking areas in Texas. There are two types of handicap placards available: a blue placard and a red placard. The blue disabled parking placard is given out to those who have a disability that is permanent in nature. They are valid for use in handicap parking zones for a total of four years. After the four years has elapsed, the placard will need to be renewed. Upon renewal, evidence of eligibility will not be required.

The red placard is given out to people with disabilities that will heal or improve over time – for example, temporary injuries that limit a person’s mobility. Upon receiving a red placard, a person can use it for up to six months (or how long the disability lasts prior to the expiration of the permit) to park in any handicap parking spot. If the disability lasts less than six months, the placard is no longer valid. If six months has elapsed and the disability is still affecting a person’s mobility, they can renew the placard with a doctor’s letter or a prescription.

parking meter
Image by Hafidh Satyanto on Unsplash: Parking in a general metered parking spot is free for those with handicap placards in Texas.

Is handicap parking free in Austin?

Although parking in a handicap spot isn’t always free for everyone with a placard, in Austin, a person with a handicap placard or license plate is able to park in general metered spots without having to pay for parking fees. The only catch is that the person parking cannot exceed the time limit of the spot, or they may face penalties.

Featured image by Tomek Baginski on Unsplash

What States Allow Free Handicap Parking?

Disabled parking permit holders tend to have a lot of questions about whether or not disabled parking is always free. We often get asked questions such as… Where do I have to pay for disabled parking? Can I park for free at a meter with a handicap placard? Do all states have the same disabled parking rules?

Let’s dive in to answer all these questions and more.

Is Disabled Parking Free?

The answer to this question is that it depends on which state you’re in and the type of disabled parking you’re talking about.

Certain forms of handicap parking are free for disabled permit holders in all states. However, not all states allow free handicap parking across the board.

Dr Handicap - disabled parking sign
Image by Shutterbug75 on Pixabay: Is disabled parking free in every state?

What Are The Rules Around Paying For Parking As A Disabled Person?

In all states, disabled parking permit holders can park in designated disabled parking spaces for free. However, not all states allow permit holders to park in metered, on-street spaces for free.

Can You Park For Free At A Meter With A Handicap Placard?

Whether or not you can park for free at a meter with a disabled parking permit depends on where you are. Some states allow permit-holders to park for free in metered spaces and others do not. Some states have no blanket rule and instead leave it up to each municipality within the state to set their own rules.

Where Do You Have To Pay For Disabled Parking?

In some states, you need to pay to park in metered, on-street spaces. In certain private parking lots, in most states, you will also need to pay to park as a disabled driver.

Disabled Parking Permits And Time-Restricted Parking

Many states allow disabled permit holders to park in time-restricted parking spaces for either unlimited time, or for an extended period of time. However, these states do not necessarily allow permit holders to park in these spaces for free.

What States Allow Free Handicap Parking?

The states that allow all disabled permit holders to park for free in metered, on-street spaces are:

  • California – Disabled parking permit holders may park for free in metered, on-street spaces for an unlimited time.
  • Florida – Disabled parking permit holders may park for free in metered, on-street spaces for up to four hours.
  • Hawaii – Disabled parking permit holders may park for free in metered, on-street spaces for two and a half hours or for the maximum time the meter allows.
  • Idaho – Disabled parking permit holders may park for free in metered, on-street spaces for an unlimited time.
  • Illinois – Disabled parking permit holders may park for free in metered, on-street spaces for an unlimited time, except at meters with a maximum time of 30 minutes or less.
  • Kansas – Disabled parking permit holders may park for free in metered, on-street spaces free for up to 24 hours.
  • Maine – Disabled parking permit holders may park for free in metered, on-street spaces for up to twice the maximum time allowed.
  • Minnesota – Disabled parking permit holders may park for free in metered, on-street spaces for an unlimited time.
  • New Hampshire – Disabled parking permit holders may park for free in metered, on-street spaces for free for varying periods of time decided by local municipal authorities.
  • Oregon – Disabled parking permit holders may park for free in metered, on-street spaces for an unlimited time, except at meters with a maximum time of 30 minutes or less.
  • South Carolina – Disabled parking permit holders may park for free in metered, on-street spaces for an unlimited time.
  • Tennessee – Disabled parking permit holders may park for free in metered, on-street spaces for an unlimited time.
  • Texas – Disabled parking permit holders may park for free in metered, on-street spaces for an unlimited time.
  • Utah – Disabled parking permit holders may park for free in metered, on-street spaces for reasonable periods of time.
  • Virginia – Disabled parking permit holders may park for free in metered, on-street spaces for up to four hours.
  • Washington DC – Disabled parking permit holders may park for free in metered, on-street spaces for double the maximum time allowed.
  • Washington State – Disabled parking permit holders may park for free in metered, on-street spaces for the maximum time shown on the parking signs.
Dr Handicap - parking sign
Image by AbsolutVision on Pixabay: Several states allow disabled drivers to park for free in metered spaces.

Do States Recognize Disabled Parking Permits From Other States?

All American states recognize disabled parking permits issued by all other states. American disabled parking permits are also recognized in several foreign countries, including:

  • Canada
  • Mexico
  • Japan
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • United Kingdom
  • All European Union countries

What Are The Qualifying Conditions For A Disabled Parking Permit?

The most common qualifying conditions for a disabled parking permit are:

  • An inability to walk 200 feet without needing to stop to rest
  • Any condition that necessitates the use of a walking aid such as a wheelchair, crutch, cane, prosthetic device, or another person.
  • A heart condition (classified Class III or IV by the American Heart Association)
  • Lung disease
  • Any condition that necessitates the use of a portable oxygen tank
  • Being an amputee
  • A neurological, arthritic, or orthopedic condition
  • Legal blindness

How Do You Get A Disabled Parking Permit?

The best way to get a disabled parking permit is to arrange an online consultation with a licensed medical professional through Dr. Handicap. Once the medical professional has verified your disability, they will provide support to help you to access your state’s disabled parking program and submit your disabled parking permit application.

Featured image by Jonathan J. Castellon on Unsplash

Is Parking Free for Disabled Parking Permit Holders?