Drivers with Disabilities: Traveling Out of State

By: Alicia Sparks July 17, 2012
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So, you’re planning a trip. Maybe a much-needed vacation, or you’re going to visit the grandkids for a week.

Or, maybe a much-needed vacation after your visit with the grandkids.

Whatever the reason for travel, if you’re a disabled driver who holds a handicapped placard or disabled license plate, you might have to visit a DMV or motor vehicle registration agency before you head out – or after you arrive.

Maintaining Your Disabled Driver Status Out-of-State

Whether you have to do anything more than step on the gas and go depends on:

  • Your state.
  • The state you’re visiting.
  • Whether you use a temporary handicap placard or a permanent disabled driver license plate.

Usually, disabled license plates are valid regardless of the state. Unlike handicapped parking placards, disabled license plates are permanent parts of your vehicle’s registration. Sure, you have to renew them like you would renew any other license plates, but they’re permanent.

Parking placards, though, are temporary and whether your state’s placards are valid in another state depends – surprise! – on the state.

For example, New York’s temporary parking placards are valid in most states and even some countries. Similarly, Florida recognizes all temporary disabled placards.

On the other hand, California neither recognizes other placards nor sends its drivers out without additional coverage. California even offers its travelers -both residents and non-residents- temporary traveling placards to use when traveling without their car.

As you can see, requirement can vary a lot. Your best bet is to contact both your DMV and the other state’s DMV to make sure you’re clear on what to do.

Are you a disabled driver who’s traveled out-of-state with a handicap placard? Did you have to do anything special, or did the state accept your placard as is?

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