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  • Drivers with Disabilities in Iowa

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    In Iowa, drivers with disabilities that limit or impair their ability to walk can apply for a special parking permit allowing them to park in designated spaces that are closer to building entrances or exits. However, a disability parking permit does not allow the driver to park in spaces intended for emergency use only.

    Types of Plates and Placards

    There are three types of disability parking permits: license plates, stickers, and removable windshield placards. Generally, license plates are issued to a driver with a permanent disability or the custodial parent or guardian of a permanently disabled child.

    If an eligible driver does not wish to receive these special plates, they can opt to apply for a small sticker that is placed in the lower right corner of their regular rear license plate.

    A temporarily disabled Iowa driver can apply for a removable windshield placard. These are also available for organizations that regularly transport the elderly or handicapped.

    License plates or parking stickers can be issued to all motor vehicles that are titled in the name of the disabled driver. However, there is a limit of two removable placards for each person with a disability. Being portable, these may be used in any car the disabled person is driving or riding in, no matter who owns it.

    Applying for a Disability Parking Permit

    For the purpose of obtaining a disability parking permit, Iowa law defines a disability as the following:

    • The driver is not capable of walking 200 feet without stopping to rest.
    • The driver must use a wheelchair, crutch, brace, prosthetic, or other assistant device to walk.
    • The driver requires portable oxygen.
    • The driver has been diagnosed with lung disease, a cardiac condition, a neurological disorder, severe arthritis, or an orthopedic ailment that severely limits his or her ability to walk.

    To receive a parking permit, complete an Application for Persons With Disabilities Parking Permit for Iowa Residents (Form 411055) and provide a medical statement from a physician or other qualified health care professional. The application can be returned to your nearest driver's license station or County Treasurer's office.

    There is no cost to apply for a disability parking permit or license plate. However, drivers must still continue to pay their annual vehicle registration fees.

    Abusing the Privilege

    It is a crime to misuse a permit intended for a disabled driver. According to Iowa law, you can be fined for obtaining a permit under false pretenses or failing to return the permit if it is no longer needed. Drivers can also be held liable if they park in a space designated for persons with disabilities.

    Visiting Iowa with a Disability Parking Permit

    Iowa, like many other states, has a policy of reciprocity regarding disability parking permits. This means that you are legally entitled to disability parking privileges in Iowa as long as you have a valid disability windshield placard or license plate from your home state. Of course, this means that you will also receive the same fines as an Iowa resident if you abuse your parking privileges while visiting the state.

    Traveling Outside Iowa with a Disability Parking Permit

    Typically, you will not need to take any special precautions when traveling outside the state with your disability parking permit. Most states will recognize any Iowa disability windshield placards or license plates issued in your own name. However, some states might require you to complete a physician's certification or apply for a non-resident travel parking placard.

    If you have questions about your upcoming travel plans, it's best to contact the DMV office in the area you will be visiting or check our Drivers with Disabilities section for that state. You might also want to ask whether the state allows free parking for drivers with disability permits, because The Americans with Disabilities Act does not expressly prohibit the payment of parking meter fees by disabled persons.

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