It is a serious violation of the law to park in a handicapped parking space without the proper credentials. It is also illegal to park in a handicapped space without the person to whom the placard or license plate was issued. Illegally parking in one of the spaces can bring a heavy fine or, in some areas, community service.
International Symbol of Accessibility
The "International Symbol of Accessibility" is an icon that everyone should know. A simple stick figure in a wheelchair, it portrays an area that is more easily accessible for someone with a disability. In driving, the symbol marks parking spaces and also marks the vehicles that are allowed to park there.
One handicapped parking space per 25 spaces is the requirement for parking lots. Spaces must be at least 60 inches wide and allow for an aisle to the left or right of the vehicle. The spaces must be near an accessible route to the building and near a clearly marked crosswalk.
One out of every eight handicapped parking spaces should be van accessible. Van spaces need to be wider, at least 98 inches. Spaces for vans should be clearly marked as such. Cars with the proper credentials are also allowed to park in van spaces.
Handicapped parking spaces must be clearly marked with a sign that shows the international symbol of accessibility. The sign must be clearly visible and be at least 60 inches above the ground. If the space is for a van, that should be stated on the sign. Most handicapped parking spaces are also marked with the international symbol of accessibility painted in the space, although it's not a requirement.
Placards, to be hung over the rear-view mirror, can be issued to individuals on a doctor's recommendation. The placard shows the international symbol of accessibility and also includes any additional information, such as the expiration date. The placards allow the driver to park in a handicapped space if the person to whom the placard was issued is present. Misuse of placards can result in fines.
Handicapped drivers can request a license plate with the international symbol of accessibility, allowing them to park in the special spaces. Requests are with a doctor's recommendation, and the car must be registered in the handicapped driver's name. The same driver can also request one removable placard.
One doesn't need to be wheelchair-bound to receive a handicapped plate or placard. Doctors will recommend issuing the privilege if someone can't walk for 200 feet without resting, if someone has cardiac problems, or if the person can't walk without the help of crutches, a cane or a brace. Privileges can also be given to someone with a prosthetic limb or someone on oxygen.
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Specifications for Handicap Parking Spaces
Handicap spaces must be clearly marked. handicap sign image by jeancliclac from Fotolia.com