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    Life is hard enough when you have a disability that affects your mobility. The state of Illinois makes things a little easier by granting some special parking privileges to people with qualifying disabilities.

    With special license plates or plastic placards, disabled people can park in parking spaces that are reserved for them near building entrances. They may also park free at parking meters. In non-metered spaces, they are exempt from time limitations.

    Anyone with a disabled license plate or placard who uses the special parking privileges without a disabled person in the car is subject to a fine of up to $2,500. The same goes for anyone without special plates or placards who parks in a space reserved for a disabled person. Heavier fines may also be given for serious violations, including using or selling fake placards and obtaining a placard fraudulently.

    The Illinois Secretary of State offers many publications online about disabled parking privileges. They may be viewed and saved using Adobe's free Reader software. If you have a disabled license plate or parking placard, these publications are essential reading:

    There is also a critical form you will need: Persons with Disabilities Certification for Plates or Parking Placard application (Form VSD 62). This form must be partially filled out by a licensed medical professional. The rest of the form acts as your application form for Disability license plates or parking placards.

    Qualifying Disabilities

    The requirements for qualifying for a disabled placard or license plate have recently been tightened. To qualify as disabled, it used to be considered sufficient to be unable to walk 200 feet without stopping to rest. Now that limitation must be connected to one of the following debilitating conditions:

    • Cannot walk without the assistance of another person, prosthetic device, wheelchair, or other assistive device.
    • Be restricted by lung disease to such a degree that forced (respiratory) expiratory volume (FEV) in one second, when measured by spirometry, is less than one liter.
    • Must use portable oxygen.
    • Have a Class III or Class IV cardiac condition according to standards set by the American Heart Association.
    • Be severely limited in the ability to walk due to an arthritic, neurological, or orthopedic condition.

    Disability License Plates

    If your doctor certifies that your disability is permanent, you may be eligible to apply for special Disability license plates when you register your vehicle. These plates are available only for a vehicle owned by either you or an immediate family member in your household who you regularly rely on for transportation.

    You and your doctor should fill out the Persons with Disabilities Certification for Plates or Parking Placard application (Form VSD 62).

    Parking Placards

    Placards that hang from the rear-view mirror of the car in which you are riding are free. The application process for placards is the same for license plates, minus fees. Your doctor will need to certify your disability using the Persons with Disabilities Certification for Plates or Parking Placard application (Form VSD 62), which is also your application form.

    There are three types of placards available:

    • Permanent: These placards are blue and must be renewed every four years. You must have a permanent disability for this type of placard.
    • Temporary: Bright red, these placards are valid as long as your physician requests, up to six months.
    • Organizational: These green placards are used by organizations that transport disabled people. They are valid for four years.

    Replacements

    If you need to replace a placard, fill out the Persons with Disabilities Certification for Plates or Parking Placard application (Form VSD 62), pay the fee and take it or mail it to:

    Secretary of State
    Persons with Disabilities License Plates/Placards Unit
    501 S. Second Street, Room 541
    Springfield, IL 62756

    Out-of-State Visitors

    Disability plates and placards issued in other states are valid in Illinois―and usually the reverse is also true. So if you're just visiting the state, you are covered. If you are planning to move to Illinois, you will need to apply for Illinois Disability plates or a placard through the standard procedure. With the help of a physician, complete the Persons with Disabilities Certification for Plates or Parking Placard application (Form VSD 62) and mail to:

    Secretary of State
    Persons with Disabilities License Plates/Placards Unit
    501 S. Second Street, Room 541
    Springfield, IL 62756

    If you are an Illinois resident who needs a temporary disability placard for a visiting friend or relative who will be riding in your vehicle, you should contact the Persons with Disabilities License Plates/Placards Unit at (217) 782-2709.

    To find out whether your Illinois disability license plates or placards will be honored in another state, refer to our Drivers with Disabilities section for the state you plan to visit.

    Disabled Persons ID Cards

    Illinois also offers an identification card especially for disabled people. This is not a driver's license, but it is used as proof of identity in the same way that a driver's license is used.

    Vision Impairments

    Drivers in Illinois must demonstrate their ability to see well enough to drive. This is defined as the following:

    • 20/40 acuity with or without corrective lenses.
    • If you demonstrate vision between 20/41 and 20/70, you will be restricted from driving at night.
    • 140-degree peripheral vision.
    • Telescopic lens wearers must meet special requirements and undergo additional testing.

    However, in some cases a Vision Specialist Report may allow for exceptions. The Illinois driver's license division provides much more information about this form and medical and vision conditions in general.

    All medical and vision specialist reports must be sent to:

    Secretary of State
    Medical Review Unit
    2701 S. Dirksen Parkway
    Springfield, IL 62723

    Special Services for Seniors

    Some senior drivers may be interested in the array of services available for seniors from the State of Illinois. The Super Senior program, for example, provides additional skills for coping with the potential problems of driving and aging, with the goal of keeping seniors safely on the road.

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