Once you have your disabled parking permit in hand, it’s important that you follow all of the regulations so you’re always using your placard correctly. But it’s possible you’ll still have questions about using your permit appropriately when you travel. Your first step should always be to read the rules and restrictions posted on your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website. If you have additional questions, ask a DMV worker for further guidance. One question a lot of disabled drivers have is “Can I use my disabled parking permit in different states?”. Read on for the answer to that important question!
Is my disabled parking permit valid in other states?
It’s generally accepted that your handicap parking permit is valid in all 50 states across the country. So, you should be permitted to park in any designated handicap parking place, no matter what state you find yourself in. However, some states do require additional temporary travel placards. In California, out-of-state disabled drivers need to apply for a travel placard that is valid for 90 days. In many states (including New York and Florida), your disabled parking permit is recognized even if you’re not a resident of the state. It’s important to read up on the state you’ll be visiting to ensure that you’re up to date on the regulations for that particular location.
In recent years, there has been a push by regulators to help make traveling between states easier for disabled drivers. But to help cut down on any confusion, it’s recommended that handicap parking permit holders post a display somewhere on their parked car that says, “This Disability Parking Permit belongs to a disabled visitor to your state.” This note (along with your valid permit) should keep disabled drivers and passengers protected under the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). Individuals with disabled license plates most likely won’t face the same sort of difficulties when traveling between states. Because these plates are permanently attached to the vehicle, they’re a part of your car’s registration, which makes it easier for authorities to verify its authenticity.
How can I make sure my handicap parking permit is valid when traveling?
If you’re planning on traveling to another state, there are some other steps you can take to make sure your placard is valid. Always carry your removable windshield placard (normally, it’s two-sided and hanger-style) with you when traveling. Because this has the International Symbol of Access on it, it’s easily recognizable as the real deal. Your placard should be blue with a white symbol; the symbol should be at least three inches in height and centered on the placard. To be truly authentic, your handicap placard also must have an identification number and an expiration date on it. In addition, it should have a seal or other identification by an issuing authority printed on it.
It’s also important that your placard is always clearly displayed when your car is not in motion. Make sure the placard is hung from the front windshield rearview mirror so that anyone can see it from the front or rear of your car. If for some reason you can’t hang the placard from the rearview mirror, place it on the dashboard so that it’s still visible. These same requirements apply if you received a temporary travel placard from your state’s DMV.
Don’t forget that the same restrictions apply to your handicap permit no matter what state you’re in. For example, you’re the only person who is legally allowed to use your placard. You can’t lend it out to friends and family unless you’re riding in the car with them. It doesn’t matter if you’re the driver or just a passenger; you are permitted to use the placard to help you cope with your disability. If you don’t follow this rule, it’s likely you will face serious consequences, which can include losing the placard, being hit with significant fines, or other possible penalties like community service.
Disabled parking restrictions around the country
Other restrictions on where you’re allowed to park might differ from state to state, but generally, this is what you should look out for. With a disabled parking permit, you can park:
- In parking places with the international wheelchair symbol
- Next to blue curbs (which are specifically for disabled individuals)
- Next to green curbs (for any length of time even if there’s a posted time limit)
- In on-street metered parking places (sometimes free of charge)
- In areas that usually require resident or merchant permits
Even with a handicap parking permit, you are still not allowed to park:
- In parking places with cross-hatched markings, unless the placard holder needs wheelchair access and more space entering and exiting the vehicle
- Next to red curbs (since these are for emergency vehicles only)
- Next to yellow curbs (these are reserved for commercial vehicles that use them for loading and unloading of passengers or freight)
- Next to white curbs (designated for loading and unloading of passengers or depositing mail in nearby mailboxes)
Want to make sure you’ll always be protected while using a disabled parking permit in another state? Check out the requirements of that particular state before you plan your trip. You can also contact the DMV if you have specific questions about traveling with your handicap placard. Just do your research before you leave, and you’ll likely be able to avoid any tickets or fines by following that state’s requirements.