Drivers with Disabilities in Pennsylvania
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The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) issues special parking placards and license plates to people with physical disabilities and to disabled veterans.
These license plates and placards allow the bearer to park in reserved handicap parking spaces near building entrances, among other parking privileges. The disabled person must be either driving or riding in the vehicle for it to be legal to use these parking spaces; abusers of the privilege will be ticketed and fined.
Not all impairments qualify for disability license plates and placards. You may qualify, however, if you:
- Are legally blind.
- Do not have complete use of arms or legs.
- Are unable to walk more than 200 feet without needing to stop and rest.
- Cannot walk without the assistance of a cane, crutch, wheelchair, brace, prosthetic device, or another person.
- Are limited by lung disease.
- Are burdened by the constant need to carry portable oxygen.
- Are hampered by a Class III or Class IV cardiac condition as defined by the American Heart Association.
- The simple act of walking is hindered by severe arthritic, neurological, or orthopedic conditions.
- Are in direct care of a person with one of the above disabilities.
For a Disabled Veteran license plate or placard, you must have suffered a service-related injury as verified by the U.S. Veteran's Administration or the armed forces unit from which you served.
The difference between a plate and a placard is permanence. A removable window placard gives you the flexibility to designate any vehicle you ride in with disabled parking status, whereas a plate limits this status to one specific vehicle.
To apply for a free disability placard, you must complete form Persons with a Disability Parking Placard Application (Form MV-145A). For disability license plates, complete form Application for Person with a Disability/Hearing Impaired Registration Plate or Motorcycle Plate (Form MV-145) and be sure to include a check or money order for $11 and to have it notarized.
Read both applications carefully. Not only do they require your signature, but depending on your situation, they might also need the signature of either a certified physician or a police officer, and either must be notarized.
Mail the application to the address on the form.
Once your application is processed, a plastic placard or metal license plate will be mailed to your home address.
Should you ever misplace your placard, you can fill out an <Persons with a Disability Parking Placard Application (Form MV-145A) to request a replacement. If in the meantime you find your placard, you are required to return it to the BMV.
Unless you hold a temporary disabled placard, which cannot regularly be renewed, you should receive notification in the mail that your placard is about to expire approximately 60 days before it will. Placards are renewed in March and September. If by chance you don't receive a notification, you should fill out form Persons with a Disability Parking Placard Application (Form MV-145A) and follow the directions depending on what type of disability you have.
If you're a resident of Pennsylvania, your disability placard is valid in all 50 states, so that's one less worry for your next road trip. If you're a disabled visitor to the state of Pennsylvania, the placard from your state is recognized here.