5 Handicap Parking Sign Requirements

Prior to the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, Americans with disabilities had a lot more issues when it came to finding accessible parking. The ADA was designed to ensure that all Americans with disabilities were given equal rights in all areas of their lives, including parking.

Accessibility is a vital component to leading a normal life for those with mobility issues or those who have disabilities that make it difficult to gain access to certain public spaces without assistance. ADA guidelines state that every public area has to have accessible parking for people with disabilities so that they can make their way to and from their destination, and also so they can get around, in and out of their vehicle with ease. To make disabled parking places clear and visible, there are many different rules and regulations in place for handicap parking sign requirements.

What makes a handicap spot official?

There are handicap parking spots available all around the country, and each spot has to meet certain criteria for it to be considered an official disabled parking space. For example, according to the ADA, the spot needs to be designated with a clearly marked sign and proper identification that includes the international symbol of accessibility (the wheelchair symbol that is widely recognizable to the majority of people). For a spot to be official, it has to be signposted clearly with this symbol.

disabled parking sign near building
Image by Bernardo Lorena Ponte on Unsplash: How high do handicap parking signs need to be?

Does a handicap parking spot need a sign?

There are a few rules that need to be followed for spots to adhere to handicap parking regulations. For example, as well as handicap parking spots being clearly identified by signs that have the international symbol of accessibility, van-accessible spots need to have the same sign plus the phrase “van-accessible” clearly outlined.

There are couple exceptions to this rule, though. Parking lots that are small and have four or fewer spaces are required by law to have accessible spaces, but those spaces can be used by anyone with or without a disability and do not need a sign. Residential areas such as apartment buildings that have assigned parking spots do not have to have signs at their accessible spaces, either. In both instances, accessible parking is still required, though the spots just don’t need to be marked with signage.

What are the main handicap parking sign requirements?

Aside from the rule that states that public places are required to have accessible parking spaces, no matter how big or small their lots are, there are some requirements that need to be met for a disabled parking sign to be legal. The first requirement involves the height of the sign. To ensure that people with and without disabilities can see disabled parking spaces clearly, the signs must be mounted a certain way so that the lower edge of the sign is at least five feet off the ground.

Visibility is important when it comes to accessible handicap parking, and having the signs sit high enough makes them easier to see. The signs must also be clearly viewable and unobstructed. As mentioned above, if the spot is designated for those with vans, that must also be clearly stated in either text or as a symbol so that who can use that spot is specifically outlined.

parking lot with cars
Image by John Matychuk on Unsplash: All parking lots, both big and small, are required by law to have accessible parking spots.

In summary, handicap parking signs must follow these five requirements:

  1. Be clear and visible by motorists
  2. The bottom of the sign must be at least five feet off the ground
  3. Have the international symbol of accessibility
  4. Cannot be obstructed by vehicles or any other objects
  5. Van-accessible signs must be clearly marked with text or a symbol

When it comes to accessibility, handicap parking spaces are crucial for helping people with disabilities get around to where they need to go with ease. Without clearly marked signs that have all the official markers, it would be more difficult for people to find the parking they need. That’s why strict handicap parking sign requirements are enforced by law.

Featured image by Nicolas Torres on Unsplash

Is A Handicap Spot Legal Without A Sign?

Handicap parking infrastructure across America helps millions of disabled people and makes their lives easier. Handicap parking spaces are located in every jurisdiction in the US. Their purpose is to make amenities, buildings, residences, and public areas accessible to disabled people.

In order to use handicap parking infrastructure, you need to be a disabled parking permit holder. For handicap parking programs to work well, it is crucial that everybody understands the rules and knows how to avail of the program effectively.

Handicap parking space signage is a crucial part of handicap parking infrastructure. Signage makes it clear to handicap permit holders and non–permit holders exactly which spaces and areas are reserved for disabled people.

The rules around handicap parking space signs are enshrined in federal law, and it is important that all road users are aware of them. People tend to have several questions about handicap parking signs, such as… Is a handicap spot legal without a sign? What happens if a handicap spot doesn’t have a sign? What makes a handicap sign legal? How tall does a handicap sign need to be? Do handicap signs have to be blue?

Let’s answer these important questions today.

What Law Deals With Handicap Parking Signs?

The federal law that deals with handicap parking space sign requirements, rules, and regulations is the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).

legal handicap parking sign
Image by JoeBreuer on Pixabay: Is a handicap spot legal without a sign?

Are Handicap Parking Laws The Same In Every State?

Certain handicap parking rules, such as handicap space sign requirements and how many disabled spaces should be in a parking lot, are federal laws. Federal laws apply nationwide. Other aspects of handicap parking laws, such as exact qualifying conditions and the types of permits that are available, vary slightly state by state.

Is A Handicap Spot Legal Without A Sign?

No, a handicap parking space is not legal without a sign. The ADA states that all handicap spaces must be denoted by a handicap parking sign.

What Happens If A Handicap Spot Doesn’t Have A Sign?

Some handicap spots will only have the wheelchair symbol painted on the ground. These spaces, while quite clearly marked as disabled spaces, should still have a sign according to the ADA. If you see a spot without a sign, you should contact your local disabled parking authorities and ask them to install a sign.

What Makes A Handicap Sign Legal?

What are the legal handicap parking signage requirements? The requirements for handicap parking signs are that they must be the correct design and they must be positioned correctly in relation to the space they are denoting.

How Tall Does A Handicap Sign Need To Be?

A handicap parking space sign must be mounted at least five feet above the ground.

Do Handicap Signs Have To Be Blue?

No, handicap parking signs do not need to be blue. However, a blue sign with the International Symbol of Accessibility in white is the most common sign design.

Where Are Handicap Parking Spaces Located?

Handicap parking spaces are located in all public places. They are located on-street and in parking lots in numbers dictated by federal law in accordance with the ADA.

How Do You Get A Handicap Parking Permit?

The easiest way to get a handicap parking permit is to have a telemedicine consultation with a medical professional at the Dr. Handicap online clinic. Once the medical professional has verified your disability, they will sign a handicap parking application form that you can submit to your local handicap parking authorities, which, in most states, is the local Department of Motor Vehicles.

parking spaces with no signage
Image by Pexels on Pixabay: What happens if a handicap spot doesn’t have a sign? In that case, it isn’t up to ADA standard.

What Medical Professionals Can Sign A Handicap Parking Application?

The specific medical professionals that can sign a handicap parking application vary state by state. In most states, any one of the following can sign your application:

  • Licensed physician
  • Physician’s assistant
  • Advanced nurse practitioner
  • Chiropractor

What Are The Qualifying Conditions For A Handicap Parking Permit?

The following medical conditions will qualify you for a disabled parking permit in all states:

  • An inability to walk 200 feet without needing to stop to rest
  • An inability to walk without the aid of an assistive device such as a cane, crutch, wheelchair, Zimmer frame, or another person.
  • A heart condition classified as Class III or IV by the American Heart Association
  • Lung disease
  • A condition that necessitates the use of portable oxygen
  • Lung disease
  • Legal blindness
  • Any arthritic, neurological, or orthopedic condition that seriously curtails mobility

Featured image by MichaelGaida on Pixabay

Can I Get A Disabled Space Outside My House In Tennessee?

Tennessee has a well-functioning, user-friendly disabled parking program. The Volunteer State provides a generous number of official disabled parking spaces for its disabled residents and visitors, and most municipalities in Tennessee also allow free parking for disabled permit-holders in metered, on-street parking spaces.

However, many Tennessee residents live in homes that are not as near as they would like to a disabled parking space. For residents who live an inconvenient distance from the nearest disabled parking space, is it possible to request a disabled space be installed outside their house?

Getting a disabled parking space outside your house can greatly increase your quality of life. Permit holders deserve a disabled parking infrastructure that is well-suited to their needs, and having a residential disabled space in Tennessee can be a real gamechanger.

So, can you get a disabled space outside your house in Tennessee? Who qualifies for a disabled space outside their house in Tennessee, and how do you apply? And who can park in residential handicap parking spaces in Tennessee? Let’s answer these crucial questions now.

road in tennessee
Image by 12019 on Pixabay: Can I get a disabled space outside my house in Tennessee?

Can I Get A Disabled Space Outside My House In Tennessee?

It is possible to get a disabled parking space outside your house in Tennessee. There is no fee to have a disabled space installed outside your house, and applications are decided on a case-by-case basis.

Who Qualifies For A Disabled Space Outside Their House In Tennessee?

Disabled parking permit holders qualify for a disabled space outside their house in Tennessee if it is judged to be necessary. Some of the factors that are taken into consideration when a person applies for a disabled space outside their house are:

  • The availability of off-street parking at the residence (garage, driveway, parking lot)
  • The location of the nearest on-street disabled spaces
  • Whether the person has a permanent disabled parking placard or license plates
  • Whether the home where the space is requested contains an accessibility ramp
  • Whether the applicant is eligible for paratransit services offered by the metro government

How Do I Get A Disabled Parking Spot Outside My House In Tennessee?

So, how do I get a disabled bay outside my home in Tennessee? To apply for a residential disabled parking permit in Tennessee, you need to contact your local department of public works. The local department of public works evaluates applications on a case-by-case basis.

Who Can Park In Residential On-Street Handicap Parking Spaces?

Tennessee handicap parking laws do not allow for disabled spaces to be reserved. Therefore, a residential disabled parking space in Tennessee is not reserved only for the person who applied to have it installed. Any disabled parking permit holder is entitled to park in a residential space once it has been installed.

What Types Of Disabled Parking Permits Are Available In Tennessee?

The following types of disabled parking permit are available in Tennessee:

  • Permanent disabled driver or passenger license plates or placards
  • Agency disabled placard – for organizations that transport disabled people
  • Temporary disabled placards – valid for up to six months
  • Disabled Veterans license plates

How To Get A Handicap Placard In Tennessee

To get a Tennessee disabled parking permit, go to the Dr. Handicap online clinic and set up a telemedicine consultation with a licensed doctor. The doctor will verify your disability and then complete the relevant sections of an application form. Once the form is completed, submit it to the Tennessee Department of Revenue.

street in nashville tennessee
Image by paulbr75 on Pixabay: How do you get a disabled parking permit in Tennessee?

What Are The Qualifying Conditions For A Disabled Parking Permit In Tennessee?

To qualify for a Tennessee disabled parking permit, a person must:

  • Be unable to walk 200 feet without needing to stop to rest
  • Have had a foot, arm, leg, or hand amputated
  • Have a disability that is certified by a licensed physician
  • Be unable to walk without the aid of a wheelchair, crutches, brace, or some other assistive device
  • Have vision worse than 20/200

Are Out-Of-State Disabled Permits Valid In Tennessee?

Disabled parking permits issued by all other US states are valid in Tennessee. Disabled permits from the following nations are also valid:

  • Canada
  • Mexico
  • All EU states
  • United Kingdom
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Japan

Featured image by Paul Trienekens on Unsplash

Are Police Allowed To Park In Handicap Spots?

One complaint that many users of disabled parking permits have is that sometimes people who aren’t entitled to use the spots use them anyway – even the police. Far too often, people assume that using a handicap parking spot because they’re in a hurry is OK, but what they don’t understand is how this impacts people who really need to using those spots.

So who can legally use handicap spots? What are the rules surrounding their use? Are police allowed to park in handicap spots? All of these questions and more are answered below – keep reading to learn all you need to know about handicap parking use and, in some cases, abuse.

Who Are Handicap Parking Spots For?

You see them almost everywhere: blue-and-white signs with the international symbol of access that denotes a parking space for someone with a handicap parking permit. Most people understand that these spaces are only for those people who possess the valid parking permit issued by the state in which they live. Still, it’s not uncommon to see someone taking the space even if they don’t possess the appropriate tag or license plate to do so.

Handicap parking spots are meant for drivers or passengers with conditions and disabilities that make it difficult to get around. These spaces help them to get more easily where they need to go and reduce stress.

If you do not possess a proper handicap license plate or a parking permit, it is illegal to park in a handicap space. Penalties for doing so will vary from place to place, but it almost certainly involves some form of a fine, which can get expensive fast.

police car in parking spot
Image by Kindel Media on Pexels: Can police park in disabled spots? Sometimes. Is it illegal to park in a disabled bay without a permit? Yes!

Are Police Allowed To Park In Handicap Spots?

Police are given a lot of latitudes when it comes to parking and driving in general, but the rules of handicap parking spots still apply to police cars. In an emergency, police are allowed to park in handicap spots and zones. However, police who are not responding to an emergency still must abide by the rules surrounding handicap parking spots, and are not allowed to park there when simply running errands or stopping for something not related to an emergency.

What Can You Do If Someone Is Parked In a Handicap Spot Illegally?

When you are disabled with a handicap parking permit or plate, not being able to find parking can be stressful. While you may not be able to make a space magically appear, you can ensure those who are parking in handicap spaces illegally are reprimanded.

To report a car that is parked illegally in a handicap spot, you should:

  • Gather information. Make sure the car doesn’t have a handicap plate or placard first. Not all disabilities are visible, and this is very important to keep in mind if you see someone exiting a car in a handicap spot who doesn’t look as if they have a disability. If you do determine the car is parked illegally, take down the license plate number and, in the case of someone abusing a parking placard, the number on the placard.
  • Call the non-emergency line. There is a non-emergency line for the police in your area, and that is the number you should use to report this incident.
  • Visit the police department. You can also physically go to a police department to make the report during normal business hours. You will provide a statement of the details and present any other evidence you have.
  • File a report online. In some places, you can file a report online to the local police or sheriff’s department. Check your local authorities’ website to see if that’s an option for you.

Hopefully, police will then take action to punish the person who is abusing the parking situation. In many places, fines of up to $1,000 can be incurred for these violations, and may even include being charged with a misdemeanor that can result in jail time.

Dr. Handicap - handicap parking lot view
Image by Robert Ruggiero on Unsplash: Parking in a handicap spot without a permit is illegal – no matter who you are!

Etiquette for Handicap Parking

When you do use a handicap parking permit or plate, make sure you’re aware of the standards of etiquette expected when using them, such as:

  • Awareness of different handicap spots. There aren’t laws that specifically outline what type of handicap spot you should use, but be aware of the limitations of the accessibility of others, even if it doesn’t apply to you. For example, you shouldn’t park in a spot designated for a van if you aren’t driving an accessible van or require a ramp to exit your vehicle. Try to use the space that is most appropriate for your individual needs.
  • Display your permit correctly. In most states, you will be required to display a handicap parking permit clearly and visibly when parking. This may mean it is hung from the rearview mirror or placed face-up on the dashboard of the vehicle.
  • Access aisles should be open. Do not park in the cross-hatched access aisles beside disabled parking spots. They are there to give those in wheelchairs easier access to their vehicles.

Featured image by Matt Popovich on Unsplash

The 3 Different Types Of Disabled Parking Spaces

Disabled parking spaces are vital things. To millions of disabled Americans, handicap parking spaces are invaluable lifelines they simply couldn’t get by without.

Disabled parking spaces ensure a core human right that is essential to wellbeing: equal access to the amenities throughout our country. We are all in this together, and disabled parking spaces enable those of us who lack mobility to partake fully in society.

Handicap parking spaces are rightly recognized as crucially important by jurisdictions and citizens all across America. Their upkeep and proper usage is always a high priority, and they are strictly regulated and protected by federal law.

New disabled permit holders might not know much about disabled parking spaces. They may have questions such as: Are there different types of handicap parking spaces? What are the different types of disabled parking space and how should each be used? How can you recognize the difference between the different types of disabled spaces? Does my disability, type of permit, or the vehicle I’m traveling in limit the type of space I can use?

Let’s answer these questions right now.

Are There Different Types Of Disabled Parking Spaces?

Yes, there are three different types of disabled parking spaces in America. The reason there are three types is so the disabled parking program can serve the widest possible group of disabled parking permit holders. The aim is for all disabilities and all vehicle types to be catered for.

Dr. Handicap - Blue Handicap Parking Sign
Image by arembowski on Pixabay: There are three different types of disabled parking space.

What Are The Different Types Of Disabled Parking Spaces?

The three different types of disabled parking space are:

  • Accessible parking spaces for cars
  • Accessible parking spaces for vans (one-sided entry)
  • Accessible parking spaces for vans (two-sided entry)

What Law Regulates Disabled Parking In America?

The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) is the federal law that regulates disabled parking spaces in America. The law covers the types of spaces, their dimensions, the number of spaces there should be in any area, and the positioning and placement of spaces.

How Can You Tell The Difference Between The Different Types Of Disabled Spaces?

Accessible parking spaces for cars are for standard vehicles without a wheelchair ramp or lift. These spaces are marked by the International Symbol of Access (blue and white wheelchair symbol). They have at least a 60-inch-wide aisle to allow a person in a wheelchair room to enter and exit the vehicle.

Accessible parking spaces for vans (one-sided entry) are for vehicles that have a ramp or lift. These spaces are marked with the International Symbol of Access and have a striped access aisle on the driver’s side that is at least 96 inches wide.

Accessible parking spaces for vans (two-sided entry) are similar to those with one-sided entry. The only difference is that they have an access aisle on both sides.

How Can You Know Whether Parking In A Certain Space Is Appropriate For You?

The right parking space depends on whether or not the vehicle you are driving has a ramp or lift, and who is traveling in the vehicle at the time in question. If your vehicle has a side door with a ramp or lift, then you will need to use a van space. The lift or lamp is the pertinent issue, as more space is required to enter and exit a vehicle using one of these devices.

If you are a wheelchair user who does not use a ramp or lift, then you can use a car space, because the 60-inch-wide aisle will be enough. Whether you are traveling in a car, van, or SUV, these spaces will be large enough provided you will not be using a ramp or lift.

If your vehicle has a ramp or lift on both sides, and passengers will be entering and exiting on both sides, you will need to use a van space with two-sided entry.

Dr Handicap - disabled parking sign on wall
Image by StephanieAlbert on Pixabay: How can you know which disabled parking space is right for you? It all depends on your vehicle.

How Many Disabled Spaces Are Parking Lots Required To Contain?

Under the ADA, all parking lots must contain disabled parking spaces, including at least one space for vans. The amount of mandatory disabled spaces increases with the size of the parking lot.

For example, smaller parking lots with 1–25 spaces must contain at least one accessible parking space for vans. For larger parking lots of between 501–1000 spaces, 2% of total spaces must be disabled, including 2–4 accessible parking space for vans.

How Do You Get A Disabled Parking Permit?

If you do not yet have a disabled parking permit, the easiest way to get one is to apply through Dr. Handicap. You’ll have a telemedicine consultation with a registered physician, who will examine you, recommend the type of disabled permit you will need, and provide you with a letter of recommendation.

Featured image by Binyamin Mellish on Pexels