can park in accessible parking spaces?
Texas laws require businesses and government offices to reserve accessible
parking spaces for certain people with disabilities. To park in one
of these spaces, a vehicle must display one of the following:
- A special license plate with the symbol of accessibility;
- A red or blue parking placard that hangs down from the
car’s rear-view mirror;
- A “Disabled Veteran” license plate.
License plates with the symbol of accessibility are available for no
extra cost, however, the Texas Department of Transportation charges
$3 for a “disabled veteran” license plate and $5 for each
parking placard. Individuals can receive up to two parking placards,
or one license plate and one parking placard. Placards for people with
permanent disabilities expire after four (4) years.
License plates are available for motor vehicles with a capacity of
two tons or less. License plates are valid as long as the person owns
the vehicle, but plates are usually reissued after eight years. Plates
should be removed from the vehicle when it is sold. An individual may
receive additional license plates for each vehicle they own that is
modified to accommodate a disability.
Individuals with foreign or out-of-state parking placards or license
plates can park in accessible parking spaces in Texas. Texans can also
use their placards or license plates to park in all other states as
Texas law also defines which individuals can obtain the necessary plates
or placards to use accessible parking spaces. There are five groups
of people who qualify to park in accessible parking spaces:
- People with mobility disabilities: Texas law defines
a person with a “mobility disability” as someone who needs
a device to assist them in walking, such as a wheelchair or a walker
or a cane or a prosthetic limb. These individuals can receive special
license plates and/or a blue parking placard.
People with other disabilities: This includes people
who are legally blind, people who have severe cardiac or respiratory
impairments, people who use portable oxygen, and people with other impairments
that limit their ability to walk. These individuals can receive special
license plates and/or a red parking placard.
People with temporary disabilities: People who have
temporary disabilities that impair their walking – such as a broken
leg – can receive a temporary red or blue parking placard that
expires after six months.
- Veterans with disabilities: People who have a 60%
VA service connected disability, or who are surviving spouses of a
veteran with such a disability rating, may purchase special “disabled
veteran” license plates from the Texas Department of Transportation.
Texas law allows people with “disabled veteran” plates
to park in accessible parking spaces.
- People who operate residential facilities for people with
disabilities: Texas law allows residential facilities that
serve people with disabilities, including facilities that serve veterans,
to receive license plates and/or blue placards for vans or buses that
transport people with disabilities.
are the laws regarding who can park in accessible parking spaces?
Texas law provides that a vehicle may be parked for an unlimited period
in a parking space that is designed specifically for persons with physical
disabilities if the vehicle is being operated by or for the transportation
of a person with a disability, and if the vehicle displays the appropriate
plate or placard. Texas law also provides that a vehicle operated by
or for the transportation of a person with a disability and displaying
the appropriate plate or placard may park for free at a parking meter
for an unlimited time.
However, Texas law no longer allows individuals with disabilities who
display a plate or a placard to park for free at government-owned parking
lots (such as at airports or parking garages) unless the government
entity passes an ordinance allowing such free parking. Texas law allows
individuals to park using placards and plates from other states and
foreign countries; and Texas placards and plates are recognized by all
Texas law allows parking placards to be removed and displayed in any
vehicle used for transportation of a person with a disability. People
with disabilities can apply for placards even if they do not own a car.
It is a violation of Texas law:
- To park a vehicle in an accessible parking space without
displaying the appropriate plate or placard, even if a driver or a passenger
of the vehicle has a disability;
- To park a vehicle in an accessible space when neither
the driver nor any passenger has a disability, even if the vehicle displays
the appropriate plate or placard;
- To park a vehicle with a placard or plate that is expired;
To park a vehicle with a placard or plate that belongs to someone who
is not a driver or a passenger in the vehicle;
- To lend a parking placard to an individual without a disability
who used that placard to violate state law;
- To steal or counterfeit a parking placard or license plate;
- To park a car in such a way that it blocks access to
an accessible parking space, an access aisle, or any architectural improvement
that provides access for people with disabilities, such as a ramp or
a curb cut.
Violations of these laws are punishable by the seizure of the parking
placard and by fine, in the following amounts:
- First offense: $250-$500
- Second offense: $300-$600
- Third offense: $300-$600
- Fourth offense: $500-$1000, plus 20-50 hours of community
- Fifth offense: $1000, plus 50 hours of community service
do I apply for a special license plate or parking placard?
- Obtain the proper form.
Individuals who wish to apply to receive plates and/or placards must
fill out Texas Department of Motor Vehicles form VTR-214.
The form can be obtained from the County Tax Assessor/Collector’s
Office, and is also available online at the TXDMV Website.
- Fill out the bottom part of the form.
Choose the type of placard and/or plate you’re applying for,
and then provide your name, signature, driver’s license or identification
card number, the date, and your address. If you’re applying
for license plates, fill out the information about your car. Do not
fill out the top half of the form.
- Visit your physician or podiatrist.
A physician or podiatrist must fill out the top half of the form and
must sign the form. The physician or podiatrist must be licensed in
Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, or New Mexico, or else be an
employee of the Veterans Administration. The signature must be notarized
unless the physician or podiatrist attaches a separate written original
prescription on a prescription form or on his letterhead. A podiatrist
may complete the form only if the applicant has a disorder of the
foot that limits mobility.
- Return the form to the County Tax Assessor/Collector in
the county where you live.
If your plates or placards expire, or are lost or stolen, you must
complete a new form. However, people with permanent disabilities
do not have to have a physician sign subsequent forms.
are “blue placard only” spaces?
As of September 1, 1999, Texas law requires that businesses that undergo
new construction or alteration must separate their accessible parking
spaces into two groups. The first group of spaces includes the spaces
closest to the entrance of the building and all van-accessible spaces.
These spaces are issued blue parking placards. It is a violation of
Texas law for anyone not displaying blue parking placards – even
people who have red placards or license plates – to park in reserved
“blue placard only” spaces. One half of all accessible parking
spaces must be designated as “blue placard only” spaces.
All individuals with disabilities can use the second group of spaces,
whether they display a blue or red placard or a license plate. Additionally,
individuals with blue or red placards or license plates can park in
any other space that has not been specifically designated as a “blue
placard only” space.
Government entities are not required to assign spaces as “blue
placard only.” Anyone with a blue or red placard or a license
plate can park in any accessible space owned by the state, or any city,
county, or school district.
- If you have a BLUE placard,
you may park in ANY accessible parking space.
- If you have a RED placard,
you may park ONLY in RED spaces, or in
any space that is NOT color-coded.
If the parking lot ONLY has BLUE colored spaces, then it is permissible
for those with RED permits to park in those spaces.
- If you have license plates with the accessibility symbol,
and do not have a BLUE placard, you may
park ONLY in RED spaces or in any space
that is NOT color-coded.
- If you have “disabled veteran” plates, and
do not have a BLUE placard, you may park
either RED or BLUE