Handicapped Parking Policies


Handicapped drivers, with the proper identification, are allowed to park in designated handicapped spots, and are also allowed other parking privileges under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Parking spots for people with disabilities must be properly marked, according to the Handicap Accessible Parking Regulations, and only those with a disability are allowed to park there. Abuse of handicapped parking regulations can result in fines, as well as imprisonment. The ADA states that parking structures and areas open to the public must provide handicapped parking spots if possible.

The Law

  • Under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), designated parking spots for the handicapped must be provided in public parking areas if readily possible. The handicapped spots must contain a visible sign indicating them as such, and provide room on one side for wheelchair, electric scooter, or other such devices to exit the vehicle. An accessible route from the parking spot to the entrance of the establishment must also be provided. In California, the number of parking spaces available to the general public determines how many handicapped spots must exist. For example, if a parking structure has 500 spots, at least seven must be handicapped friendly.


  • In order to legally park in a handicapped parking space, you must first have a valid Disabled Person Parking Placard or license plate. A licensed physician, physician's assistant, nurse practitioner, or surgeon must certify your disability. Conditions that qualify include heart and lung disease, loss of vision, or the inability to use your hands or legs. If you have physically lost your legs or hands, and the state Department of Motor Vehicles is aware of this, no medical certification is needed. Veterans injured during active service may also qualify for disability parking privileges under the ADA guidelines.


  • Disabled drivers, with the proper identification, are allowed to park in designated handicapped parking spots, as well next to curbs painted blue. The ADA states that designated handicapped parking spots must contain the International Symbol of Access, or a wheelchair symbol, for identification purposes. Handicapped drivers can park next to curbs painted blue for as long as they wish, and at on-street meters without needing to pay. In California, handicapped drivers may park next to green curbs, or time limit zones, for as long as they wish as well.


  • Handicapped drivers are not allowed to park in the crosshatched pattern spaces next to handicapped spots, according to federal ADA regulations, as they are reserved for wheelchair access. They are also not allowed to park next to red curbs, yellow curbs, or white curbs. Both yellow and white curbs are reserved for loading and unloading purposes. Red curbs indicate no parking or stopping at anytime, handicapped or not.


  • Only the person issued the Disabled Person Parking Placard may use it, and it is illegal to lend it to anyone else for any reason, or to use another person's placard. It is also illegal to forge a medical professional's signature, or provide incorrect information, to obtain a placard or disabled license plate. Abuse of these laws can result in fines of up to $3,500, community service, or imprisonment according to ADA guidelines.


  • Photo Credit Handicapped Parking sign image by Jim Mills from Fotolia.com disabled sign image by Warren Millar from Fotolia.com veteran image by araraadt from Fotolia.com no parking sign image by Foto Factory from Fotolia.com prision-4129 image by Paco Ayala from Fotolia.com
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