Drivers with Disabilities in North Carolina
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Differently-abled people may drive motor vehicles in North Carolina if their disabilities do not interfere with their abilities to drive safely. With exceptions, a disabled person who passes the driver's license exam and road tests is permitted to drive in North Carolina.
If your disability does not prevent you from operating a motor vehicle safely, you might be eligible for a restricted driver's license. With a restricted license, you must follow the limits placed on your license. For example, you might be allowed to operate a vehicle that has been modified with special control devices.
Because of their special needs, there are laws in place that make it easy for handicapped people to park close to buildings and wheelchair ramps, or have more access to get into and out of specially-designed vans. People who transport disabled people can also park in these spots.
In North Carolina, if you meet certain requirements you may apply for handicapped license plates or dashboard placards. These allow you to park in designated "handicapped only" parking spaces. Applying for special plates or placards is as easy as filling out a form and paying a fee.
When it comes to eligibility for disabled placards and license plates, "disabled" is defined as a person who is experiencing at least one of the following conditions:
- Unable to walk 200 feet without stopping to rest
- Requires a brace, cane, crutch, another person, wheelchair, prosthetic device, or other assistance to walk
- Has restrictions from lung disease
- Requires portable oxygen
- Has a debilitating cardiac condition
- Unable to walk due to arthritis or a neurological or orthopedic condition
- Is totally or legally blind
For a temporary handicap placard valid for up to six months, you simply fill out the Application for Handicapped Placard for Temporary Disability (MVR-37T), and have your physician sign it. He or she must confirm the length of your disability between one and six months. There is a $5 fee for each placard, with a limit of two per person. Your placard(s) will be valid for one to six months.
For a permanent handicap placard, simply complete the Application for Handicapped Placard for Permanent Disability (MVR-37A), and have it signed by your physician, certifying that you are eligible. There is a $5 fee for each placard, and you may get two per person. These placards expire five years from the date of issue. You can renew them by having your physician sign another application.
With a disabled placard, you may park for an unlimited amount of time in a space that normally has a time limit on it. For example, by displaying your placard, you may park in a two-hour parking space for more than two hours. This does not apply to zones that are reserved for certain types of vehicles, such as police cars or city buses.
According to North Carolina General Statutes 20-37.6A, if you hold a
handicap placard from another state, North Carolina will recognize it when you visit this state. You will have the same privileges as if the placard had been issued here.
To find out whether another state will honor disability license plates or placards issued in North Carolina, review our Drivers with Disabilities section for the state you plan to visit.
Would you like to have personalized license plates with the International Symbol of Access (wheelchair) on them? If you are handicapped or visually impaired, you are eligible to receive this license plate at the regular license plate fee. You must complete the Application for Handicapped Drivers Registration Plate (MVR-37).
Again, it requires your physician's signature, or it can be signed by an authorized representative of the state's Division of Services for the Blind. The plate is renewed by sticker, like other types of license plates. However, you must have a physician certify it again every five years in order to continue using it.
Please refer to the DMV's information page for more details about placards.
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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