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Handicap Placard: Parking Rules for Disabled Explained (2024)

You cannot use a handicapped placard in another car unless you are the registered owner of the placard, and are either driving the vehicle or being transported in it. If you are transporting a person with a disability who has a valid handicapped placard, you can use it in your vehicle while the person is being transported. However, it is illegal to use someone else’s handicapped placard or to allow someone else to use yours.
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Who is Eligible to Use a Handicap Placard?

According to HandicapMD, to qualify for disabled person license plates or a disabled placard, certain criteria must be met, primarily centered around impaired mobility resulting from various conditions [1].

These conditions include:

  • Loss of one or both legs or arms
  • Inability to use one or both arms or legs
  • Technical diseases affecting mobility, restricting the use of hands or feet
  • Dependence on mobility aids such as wheelchairs, zimmer frames, or crutches
  • Documented visual impairments, including partial-sightedness or lower vision

A diverse range of medical conditions can impact mobility and may qualify individuals for disabled parking privileges. These conditions encompass:

  • Severe cardiac conditions necessitating wheelchair use
  • Rheumatoid arthritis and arthritis
  • Respiratory diseases requiring portable oxygen tanks
  • Chronic illnesses like emphysema, asthma, cystic fibrosis, and COPD
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Visual impairments
  • Prosthetic limbs (legs, hands, or arms)
  • Acute sensitivity to sunlight
  • Health conditions necessitating the use of assistive devices
  • Medical conditions such as obesity, inflammatory bowel disease, and lupus

It’s important to note that medical professionals determine the final eligibility for disabled parking privileges. Consulting with a healthcare provider is crucial to ascertain eligibility and ensure compliance with relevant regulations. By meeting the established criteria and obtaining approval from a medical expert, individuals can access the necessary accommodations to support their mobility needs.

Types of Handicap Placards

According to Divan Medical, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) offers various types of disabled parking placards and plates to eligible individuals [2]. These include permanent plates or placards, temporary placards, and travel placards, each serving specific needs.

Permanent plates and placards are intended for individuals with permanent disabilities, providing long-term accessibility benefits. On the other hand, temporary placards are available for those requiring short-term accommodations due to temporary injuries, post-operative recovery, or pregnancy. Temporary disabled placards have a validity period of six months and can be renewed up to six times, with each renewal requiring a new doctor’s certificate.

Travel placards cater to permanently disabled individuals who are traveling outside their home state, ensuring continued access to disabled parking privileges while away from home – Divan Medical

By offering these distinct types of placards and plates, the DMV strives to accommodate the diverse needs of individuals with disabilities, facilitating mobility and accessibility in various situations. Eligible individuals can apply for the appropriate type of placard or plate based on their specific circumstances, ensuring they receive the necessary support to navigate parking challenges with ease.

5 Facts About Handicap Accessible Parking

  1. The striped markings adjacent to handicap-accessible parking spaces serve a crucial purpose: they signify that the space is reserved specifically for wheelchair-accessible vehicles. These designated spots are wider than standard handicap-accessible spaces, providing ample room for individuals to safely deploy ramps and enter or exit their vehicles with ease.
  2. It’s important to understand the distinction between parking spaces designated for cars and those designated for wheelchair-accessible vans. When signage indicates “Accessible Vans,” it means that the space is exclusively reserved for wheelchair-accessible vehicles. These van-accessible spaces are identifiable by the presence of a striped access aisle on the passenger side, facilitating convenient wheelchair entry and exit.
  3. It’s worth noting that not all disabilities are immediately apparent, and some individuals may require handicap-accessible parking despite not using a wheelchair. These spaces are intended to accommodate a range of disabilities, including but not limited to deafness or recent injuries, ensuring equitable access for all individuals with mobility challenges.
  4. Businesses are legally obligated to provide a certain number of handicap-accessible parking spaces, in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The specific quota of accessible spaces required depends on the total number of parking spaces in the lot. However, at least one out of every six handicap-accessible spaces must be designated for wheelchair-accessible vehicles, as mandated by the ADA.
  5. As wheelchairs continue to evolve and increase in size, the need for additional space in parking spots becomes increasingly apparent. This extra space is essential to facilitate safe and convenient access for wheelchair users, allowing for the deployment of ramps and maneuvering in and out of vehicles comfortably.

Source: Senior Resource Guide [3].

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