Drivers with Disabilities in Washington DC
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All of the Department of Motor Vehicles service locations in the District of Columbia are accessible to those with physical disabilities. Beyond that, the DMV offers disability parking permits, hanging placards, or license plates (tags) that allow drivers with physical disabilities to park in more accessible spaces.
Disability parking permits and placards are available to both district and nondistrict residents and are hung from the rearview mirror of the car in which the disabled person is driving or riding. Disabled tags, however, are available only to district residents. You can either have a disabled placard or disabled tags―but not both.
Whether your disability placard or tag was issued by the District of Columbia DMV or from a jurisdiction outside the district, it allows you to park in any designated disabled parking space. Likewise, all valid placards or tags (no matter where they've been issued) grant holders the right to park for twice the posted length of time in spaces with red-topped meters (after paying the posted meter rate) or time-restricted parking spaces.
Current district-issued placards and tags should be accepted outside the area. However, if you are traveling to another location and are concerned about whether your disability tag or placard will be accepted there, it might be wise to check with that state's motor vehicle department, or simply look at our Drivers with Disabilities section for the state in question.
These special privileges don't give you free reign to park wherever you want, of course. Your disabled parking placard or tags will not allow you to do the following:
- Stop, stand, or park where parking is not allowed
- Park in spaces reserved for other kinds of vehicles
- Park, stop, or stand in a location that would pose a traffic or safety hazard
Keep in mind that it is illegal to allow anyone to use your disability placard or tags unless they are giving you a ride at the time. You are not allowed to make copies of the disability placard or alter it. It is, of course, unlawful to make a false statement about a disability to help someone else to get disabled parking privileges.
If you violate these regulations, you could be fined, imprisoned, and have your disability parking privileges revoked.
You must be a resident of the District of Columbia to get disability tags from the DMV. The first step in the process is to complete an Application for Disability Parking Placard or Tags. There is a portion of the form that must be completed by your doctor, who should mail the completed form to:
- DC DMV
- Medical Review Services
- P.O. Box 90120
- Washington, DC 20090
The form can instead be faxed to (202) 673-9908 or brought in person to a DMV service location.
Disability license tags are valid for either one or two years, depending on the date on your vehicle's registration. You'll have to pay just the normal annual vehicle registration fee―there is no extra charge for these tags. If you already have regular tags on your car, you'll have to pay a $10 fee to transfer them, and you'll have to give them up.
The first step to apply for a disability parking placard is to fill out an Application for Disability Parking Placard or Tags. There is a portion of the application form that must be completed by your doctor, who should mail the completed form to the address listed above. It can also be faxed to (202) 673-9908 or brought in person to a DMV service location.
If you want merely a one-week permit, use the One-week Disability Parking Placard Application form. You don't need a doctor's certification for a one-week permit, so you can submit this form yourself.
There are three different types of disability placards and permits available. If your application is approved, then you may be issued one of the following:
- One-week permit, which is not renewable
- Temporary placard, which can be renewed with a doctor's certification
- Long-term placard, which is good for five years
The disability permit or placard is issued at no charge.
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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