We see Disabled Parking Placement signs in parking lots across the country. Signs that designate special parking spaces upfront and convenient to a business main door for people with disabilities.
But what is the legal definition of these signs? According to the § 46.2-1240 Code of Virginia, the "Disabled parking sign" means any sign used to identify parking spaces for use by vehicles bearing valid organizational, permanent, or temporary removable windshield placards, disabled parking license plates, or disabled parking license plates issued under § 46.2-739.
The application must be certified by a licensed physician, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, podiatrist, or chiropractor indicating that the applicant is disabled and their medical condition limits or impairs the applicant's ability to walk.
§ 46.2-1240 Code of Virginia states:
“Person with a disability that limits or impairs his ability to walk or that creates a concern for his safety while walking" means a person who, as determined by a licensed physician, podiatrist, or chiropractor:
(i) cannot walk 200 feet without stopping to rest;
(ii) cannot walk without the use of or assistance from a brace, cane, crutch, another person, prosthetic device, wheelchair, or other assistive device;
(iii) is restricted by lung disease to such an extent that his forced (respiratory) expiratory volume for one second, when measured by spirometry, is less than one liter, or when at rest, his arterial oxygen tension is less than 60 millimeters of mercury on room air;
(iv) uses portable oxygen;
(v) has a cardiac condition to the extent that his functional limitations are classified in severity as Class III or Class IV according to standards set by the American Heart Association;
(vi) is severely limited in his ability to walk due to an arthritic, neurological, or orthopedic condition;
(vii) has some other debilitating condition that, in the view of a licensed physician, podiatrist, or chiropractor, limits or impairs his ability to walk;
(viii) has been diagnosed with a mental or developmental amentia or delay that impairs judgment including, but not limited to, an autism spectrum disorder;
(ix) has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease or another form of dementia; (x) is legally blind or deaf; or
(x) has some other condition that, in the view of a licensed physician creates a safety concern while walking because of impaired judgment or other physical, developmental, or mental limitation.
For the purposes of these definitions, a determination of a disability by a podiatrist or chiropractor shall be limited to those conditions specified in items (i), (ii), (vi) or (vii) of this definition.
Proper Use of Disabled Parking Placards or License Plates
The placard must hang from the rearview mirror when the vehicle is in a disabled parking space.
The holder of the placard must be the driver or a passenger in the vehicle. In addition, the placard holder is required to carry the Disabled Parking Placard Identification Card that is issued with the placard and to present it to a law enforcement officer upon request.
Virginia's disabled parking placards and plates display the International Symbol of Access and are valid in all 50 states and other countries. Disabled parking privileges allow you to park in any parking space designated for a disabled person and park for up to four hours in metered or time-restricted spaces without paying a fee (unless prohibited by the locality). To read about rights and privileges in greater detail, refer to Disabled Parking Placard and Plate Privileges. Placards and plates do not allow you to disobey state or local parking regulations.
It is a serious misuse of placards and plates for the disabled when someone other than the person with a disability uses the placard or plate to park in a space reserved for people with disabilities. The person to whom the placard or plates was issued must be traveling in the vehicle in order to use these spaces. A conviction of this offense could result in fines of up to $500 and/or the revocation of your disabled parking privileges, requiring you to surrender your placard or plates.
Disabled Parking Placards/License Plates are NOT a badge of honor. The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) created laws to protect people with disabilities with their vehicle parking issues.
"The person to whom the placard or plates was issued must be traveling in the vehicle in order to use these spaces. A conviction of this offense could result in fines of up to $500 and/or the revocation of your disabled parking privileges, requiring you to surrender your placard or plates."
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