Guest Author - Bonnie Sayers
A disabled placard is the blue plastic card that hangs from your interior window. This allows the driver to park in handicapped parking spots. When parking on the street with meters present, as long as you are not in a red zone you can place the disabled placard on your mirror and not pay the meter.
I learned through trial and error that the person who is disabled is the one who gets the disabled placard issued, not the driver. The first time I filled out the DMV application and took it to the Doctor for her signature and input for some data. I figured it would be faster to mail the form to the DMV headquarters instead of driving into Hollywood and waiting in line for the processing.
A few weeks later I received the application back with the notation that I had to start the process over again - meaning go back to the Doctor and get her information documented on the form. This time I dropped off the form while we were in the neighborhood and picked it up later that day. Luckily they all know us at the Doctor's office and are quite accommodating with paperwork we need for various agencies.
I brought my son to the DMV office since I was told over the phone that I would need to bring him in person and have him sign the form in front of the personnel. This I had to see since Matthew cannot write his name. We were able to get in the disabled line at the DMV and were out of their offices in under fifteen minutes.
Matthew did not have to sign anything - instead I signed for him and walked out in November of 2004 with a disabled placard that expired on June 30, 2005. All that work for such little time. I was disappointed thinking I would have to go through it all again in another six months.
I copy all documents I sign and noticed that the application stated " Permanent disabled parking placards are issued to any qualifying person or disabled veteran. The placard has a fixed expiration date of June 30, every odd-numbered year."
Earlier in the year I received in the mail the new placard that has an expiration date of 2007. We reside in California - so this is how it is handled here. In Ohio for each renewal you need to have the Doctor fill out a statement. For the State of New York a permanent placard is good for five years. A Doctor can determine how long a temporary placard can last - weeks or months.
The CA application is free for a permanent disabled placard, $6.00 for a temporary one, no fee for a disabled plate or a travel parking placard. Please do note that the applicant is the actual person who requires this parking assistance - most likely a child, therefore there will be no driver's license number to report on the form.
The disabled person does not have to own or drive the vehicle to use the placard. Abuse of the system results in the revocation of the placard and possible misdemeanor charges. The disabled plates or placard must be turned into DMV within 60 days of the death of the disabled person.
For the California application there are eight boxes to select. They are for reporting what the disabled person suffers from:
1. Lung disease
2. Cardiovascular disease
3. A diagnosed disorder which substantially impairs or interferes with mobility (this is the one the Doctor used and wrote out severely autistic child)
4. A severe disability unable to move.
5. Significant limitation of lower extremities.
6. The loss, or use of lower extremities.
7. The loss of or use of one or both hands.
8. Central visual acuity
The Doctor signs, gives their address and medical license number. For CA you can call the DMV at 1-800-777-0133. A google search will bring you the website of your local or state DMV offices. You might be able to print out the form or request one mailed to you. Make copies before you fill it out, just in case there is an error and it comes back to you if you are mailing it out.
It is mentioned to remove the disabled placard before driving, which I always do. The maximum fine for misuse is $3,500. The placard also mentions a state law for purchase of fuel - Business & Professions code 13660 - service stations must refuel a disabled person's vehicle at self-service rates, except at facilities with only one employee on duty.
The colored zone for disabled parking is blue. You can park in green zones without restrictions to time limits. For street parking where preferential parking privileges are given to residents and merchants, the disabled placard needs to be placed on the mirror at the dash.
We use the disabled placard for parking at the handicapped section of the school parking lot when taking Matthew to school. We also utilize the placard for grocery stores, the library, Toys R US and the Mall. It is a joy to be able to find a spot at the mall with ease and not have to dart around cars.
I brought along our disabled placard for our Sea World trip during Spring Break. Because Matthew was with us it was easier to get into the Holiday Inn and Sea World by parking very close. Make sure you bring the disabled placard when you go to amusement parks and on vacations.
I learned from the summer camp Director that she was able to get five disabled placards to use for field trips in transporting the autistic children in the day camp. She uses these each summer session that consists of six weeks, so I do not think they are temporary placards. This is good information to know - perhaps those who run camps, support groups or organizations that have outings where they have to transport children on the Autism Spectrum in their own cars can apply for disabled placards.
From my research it appears a temporary placard is red and not renewable.
Educational Autism Tips for Families 71 page resourceful ebook for families entering the school system with a recent autism diagnosis. Find out what issues take place over the course of a school day and meet these challenges head on.