Drivers with Disabilities in Maryland
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There are essentially 10 circumstances under Maryland law that make a person eligible to apply for a disability placard or plate. Most of these are uniform across all states and include being wheelchair-bound or unable to take a stroll of more than 200 feet without assistive devices or a pause for a breather.
If you fall into one of the listed categories you will just need a licensed physician to verify and sign off on the condition as a prerequisite for applying. In some cases a signature from a chiropractor and/or ophthalmologist will suffice.
Disabled license plates and placards are offered to qualifying individuals at no charge.
You can apply for one or two placards, one plate, or a combination of one plate and one placard. If you choose to do so you can personalize your license plate bearing the wheelchair symbol.
Those disabled while serving in the military can also apply to have this designation etched on a license plate. Lastly, amateur radio enthusiasts are allowed to apply for a disabled person's plate bearing their call letters.
Fill out an Application for Maryland Parking Placards/License Plates for Individuals with a Disability. This is the document where you have a physician certify that you are indeed disabled and in need of parking benefits.
Once the application is ready to submit, there are a couple of ways to wrap up the process and get your placards and/or plates:
If applying in person, head into a full-service MVA office. Some counties do not have MVA offices; others only have offices that provide limited services. So make sure you arrive at an appropriate facility to avoid any unnecessary frustration.
Applying via mail is also an option. Simply complete the application, making sure that the disability certification area has been before a doctor, and return it to:
- MVA, Disability Unit
- Room 202
- 6601 Ritchie Highway
- Glen Burnie, MD 21062
The placards and/or plate will be mailed to you. A placard is valid for four years. Plates bearing the wheelchair symbol are good forever, but you must get a new registration tag every two years. Placards are free of charge. However, if you exceed the time allotted for renewing a placard then a $20 penalty is added.
When your placard is coming up for renewal you will get a renewal notice in the mail. Verify that all the information is current, date and sign the form and mail it back in to the address listed above. The license plate is also free, but regular registration fees are assessed to your vehicle.
If you find yourself rehabbing a broken leg or bum knee after a slip hiking one of Maryland's scenic trails, you can apply for a temporary placard. That way when your arms feel like rubber and are in serious pain from hobbling on crutches, you will not have to traverse a parking lot the size of Rhode Island.
The application process is similar to obtaining a regular disability placard. The one requirement is that your temporary ailment causes you more than three weeks of distress. Other than that, it is just a matter of completing the form and having a doctor state that you are undeniably in no shape to hike great distances due to the impermanent malady. The placards, which are red rather than the regular blue version, are issued in up to six-month increments.
Those empty spaces just outside the doorway painted with the universal wheelchair symbol are just too much for some people. They tire of the long hauls across ocean-sized parking lots with 500 bags of Christmas packages. They see your car, window slightly ajar, legally parked in one of those ultra-convenient spots. Your placard is hanging properly from the rearview mirror. Next thing you know, they drop all the packages and grab the placard. No more will they have to park 20 miles from a door.
There are hefty consequences for using a placard illegally. Some people think the penalties should be tougher, but for now it will set you back up to $500 for the misuse; and that does not count the penalties for swiping it in the first place. That is a whole other set of offenses that might put you in jail just because you could not walk a spell.
On the other hand, if you are the victim of a stolen placard the first thing you need to do is contact the police. Once you are issued a report number then you can just go through the normal application process to get a replacement, except you will note on the form the case number and the jurisdiction.
A replacement can be picked up in person or you can send in the documents to the above address and receive a new one via mail.
If you lose your placard, you need to fill out another application and check the "substitute placard" box.
If you are planning a vacation in another state, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has you covered. As long as the placard is current and issued in your name, you can use it just about wherever you go―including Washington, D.C.
However, the law in most states allowing resident drivers bearing a valid placard to park for free at parking meters might not apply to visiting drivers with out-of-state placards. Thus, when you park at a meter in another jurisdiction, you might want to drop a few coins in the meter just to be safe.
Other Topics in This Section
- Register Car
- Registration Renewal
- Registration & Insurance
- Replacing a Lost Registration
- RV & Motorhome Registration
- Custom Built Car Registration
- Boat Registration and Licenses
- Title Transfers
- Replacing a Lost Title
- Salvaged Vehicles
- Special Vehicles
- Drivers with Disabilities
- License Plates & Placards
- Smog & Emission Checks
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