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Disability Parking For Travelers
By: Yudit Frei | May 22 2018

Many people with a disability, particularly wheelchair users and people with mobility disabilities, prefer to take their own vehicle with them on vacations and trips. The ease of having your own transportation and not dealing with the complications of air travel often outweighs the many hours of driving necessary to visit another state.


MarcBruxelle

Disability parking permits
Disability parking permits

A vehicle that belongs to a person with a disability is recognizable by a disability parking permit that may take the form of a placard, card or sticker and is usually displayed in the front windshield. The Department of Motor Vehicles also issues license plates for people with permanent disabilities that displays the Universal Symbol of Access. Passengers with disabilities can often use their parking placard in any vehicle as long as it is clearly displayed.

 

Parking laws covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
Parking laws covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The law under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) states that commercial facilities and public accommodation must be accessible to all. This includes providing parking spaces that are reserved for people with a disability parking permit and clearly labeled with the Universal Symbol of Access. This means that any place a traveler wants to visit that has a parking lot, should have accessible parking available. Most cities also have “on street” parking that is reserved for drivers or passengers with disabilities in vehicles that display a permit. “On Street” parking places are distinguishable by parking meters or a painted curb.

If you have a disabled placard from your home state it will be recognized in most other US states. In certain states, you can apply for a travel parking placard that will allow you to use accessible parking across the United States for a limited amount of time.

In general, most states follow similar rules for accessible parking. Below is a quick summary to help you before you set off on your travels. Each state has their own site with a clear set of rules and regulations for drivers with a disability placard. Make sure you are familiar with the parking regulations before you travel as they may be different to those in your home state.

We have listed the states corresponding to the top 20 most visited USA cities and will expand this guide as we increase the number of cities we are covering.

General rules to consider
General rules to consider
  • Parking spaces in parking lots and on the road that are reserved for drivers with a disability placard are clearly marked with the Universal Symbol of Access.
  • If a space has a person’s name or license number on the sign or painted on the space, do not park there.
  • The striped or crosshatched area adjacent to a disabled parking space is for easy access in and out of the vehicle. Do not park in this area.
  • Your parking placard must be visible through the front windshield of your car.
  • Do not use a parking placard that has expired or is not in your name.
California
California

California DMV - Disability Information

Visitors with a disability placard issued in California may use their parking placard in any other U.S. state. Visitors from any other U.S. state may use their parking placard in California.  However, visitors to California can apply to the State of California Department of Motor Vehicles for a nonresident travel parking placard which is valid for 90 days. California residents who have a permanent parking placard or license plates and will be travelling to other states can apply for a travel parking placard that is valid for 30 days.

You may park next to a blue curb (authorized parking for persons with disabilities) or a green curb (limited time parking) for as long as you wish. Parking spaces that are indicated by Universal Symbol of Access and crosshatched marking are for wheelchair users only. You may park at a parking meter with no charge. You may park in any spot that is indicated for residents or merchant parking only. Do not park where the curb is painted red, white or yellow.

Please note that service stations must refuel a disabled person’s vehicle at self-service rates unless the service facility has only one employee on duty.

 

Florida
Florida

Florida DMV - Disability Information

Florida residents may use their parking placard in most other US States. Visitors from any other US State may use their parking placard in Florida.

You may park free of charge at an “on street” parking meter for up to four hours. You may park free of charge at an “off street” parking meter for an unlimited amount of time. You may be entitled to free parking at the airport, sports stadiums, and convention centers. Enquire locally for more information.

Do not park in striped areas that are adjacent to accessible parking spaces; this is an access aisle.

Georgia
Georgia

Georgia DMV - Disability Information

Visitors with a disabled placard issued in Georgia may use their parking placard in most other US States. Persons from any other US State may use their parking placard in Georgia.

 

Illinois
Illinois

Illinois Secretary of State (SOS) - Disability Placard Information

Travelers with a disabled placard or license issued in Illinois may use their parking placard in most other US States, however some jurisdictions may not allow free parking, even with an Illinois meter-exempt parking placard. Persons from any other US State may use their parking placard in Illinois, but do not qualify for meter-exempt parking. If you park your vehicle in a space containing a parking meter, you are required to pay any fees associated with using the parking space.

If you have a meter-exempt parking placard issued in the State of Illinois, you may park free of charge at a parking meter for an unlimited amount of time, unless the meter has a 30 minute maximum time.


Louisiana
Louisiana

Lousiana Disabled Parking Laws

Lousiana Office of Motor Vehicles - Disability Hang Tag

Persons with a disabled placard issued in Louisiana may use their parking placard in most other US States. Persons from any other US State may use their parking placard in Louisiana.

Massachusetts
Massachusetts

Mass.gov - Disability Placards & Plates

Massachusetts RMV - Disabled Parking Information

Persons with a disabled placard issued in Massachusetts may use their parking placard in all other US States, except New York. Persons from any other US State may use their parking placard in Massachusetts.

In certain areas you may park at a parking meter free of charge, but please be careful as this does not apply everywhere (e.g. Massachusetts Port Authority does not exempt meter fees).

Do not park in an area that has been painted with crosshatch and is adjacent to a disabled parking space - this is for ramp access only.

 

New York
New York

New York DMV - Parking for People with Disabilities

New York State recognizes out-of-state plates and permits for people with disabilities, and most other states also recognize New York's permits and plates. New York State parking placards and those issued in other states can be used in NYC parking lots, but not on NYC streets. Only an NYC Disability parking permit holder is eligible for parking on NYC streets (which is not valid outside of NYC).

Nevada
Nevada

Nevada DMV - Disabled Parking Laws

Visitors with a disabled placard issued in Nevada may use their parking placard in most other US States. Travelers from any other US State may use their parking placard in Nevada.

You cannot park in a disabled parking stall labeled “reserved for the exclusive use of side-loading wheel chair lift” unless your vehicle displays special plates or a placard and it is equipped with a side-loading lift.

Even if you have a disabled parking placard, you must pay at meters and in parking garages, unless you have disabled veteran’s license plates, in which case certain fees are waived.

Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania DMV - Disability Parking Placard FAQ

Visitors with a disabled placard issued in Pennsylvania may use their parking placard in most other US States. Persons from any other US State may use their parking placard in Pennsylvania.

On roads that have a time restriction, parking placard holders may park for up to 60 minutes longer.

South Carolina
South Carolina

Persons with a disabled placard issued in South Carolina may use their parking placard in most other US States. Persons from any other US State may use their parking placard in South Carolina.

You may park at a parking meter free-of-charge with no time limit, except at times when stopping, parking, or standing of all vehicles is prohibited, or in areas reserved for special types of vehicles.

Tennessee
Tennessee

TN.gov - Disabled Plates/Placards

Visitors with a disabled placard issued in Tennessee may use their parking placard in most other US States. Travelers from any other US State may use their parking placard in Tennessee.

You may park free of charge at a parking meter for an unlimited amount of time.

Texas
Texas

Texas DMV - Disabled Placards and Plates

Persons with a disabled placard issued in Texas may use their parking placard in most other US States. Persons from any other US State may use their parking placard in Texas.

You may park free of charge at a parking meter but may not exceed the stated time allowance unless specifically mentioned in that location.

 Certain cities offer free airport parking. See above link for details.

 

Washington DC
Washington DC

DC DMV - Disability Access Information

DC .gov - Disability Parking

Travelers with a disabled placard issued in Washington D.C. may use their parking placard in most other US States. Visitors from any other US State may use their parking placard in Washington D.C.

Red top meters are reserved for people with disabled parking placards or licenses. You must pay for the meter, but you are granted additional time. You may also park at a regular (non-red top) meter, pay the fee and observe the time limit.

Washington State
Washington State

Washington State Department of Licensing - Disabled Parking

Visitors with a disabled placard issued in Washington State may use their parking placard in most other US States. Persons from any other US State may use their parking placard in Washington State.

You may park on the street, for free, in any parking space that is time restricted, including at a parking meter, but you must respect the time restriction. You may not park in privately-owned parking lots or areas reserved for special types of vehicles (fire lanes, loading zones, etc.).You may park in any specially-designated disabled parking space. However, van-accessible spaces are designed for use by wheelchair vans only. If you do not use a van you may park there only if no other disabled spaces is available.  You may not park in zones or areas where stopping, parking, or standing of all vehicles is prohibited.

For travelers from abroad
For travelers from abroad

Certain US states will recognize parking permits issued in other countries. This includes the states of California, Illinois, Louisiana, Nevada, and Texas. Please check the DMV website for the state you will be visiting to learn the specific rules and regulations.

 If you need to apply for a temporary parking permit, check the DMV website for the state you will be travelling to. You should be able to download an application form and receive a list of which information you need to supply in order to obtain a travel parking placard for non-residents, such as a copy of your parking permit in your country of residence and proof of identity. There is a fee for this service.

You cannot use a parking permit from another country in Florida but can use it to obtain a temporary permit for the duration of your stay. Obtain the permit (in person, or via a family member, friend or guardian) at any Florida Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles office; show your own parking permit and passport, and pay the fee.

Washington DC offers a one week disability parking permit that is suitable for tourists. You can download the form by clicking here.

Rental cars
Rental cars

If you have a disabled parking placard or permit that is registered in your name, but not to any particular vehicle, you may use it in any vehicle in which you are the driver or the passenger, as long as it is clearly visible through the front windshield. This applies to rental cars. If you do not own a placard or permit, you can obtain a temporary one from the state in which you are resident or the state in which you are travelling. Please note you may be asked to provide medical information and/or the authorization of your doctor.

Additional resources
Additional resources

The USA Section of the FIA Guide for the Disabled Traveller - This website offers a guide state by state and also offers a printable notice that you can display next to your parking placard if you are a visitor in another state.

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