DISABLITY PARKING HISTORY FROM THE
MICHIGAN SECRETARY OF STATE
The Secretary of State issued the first disability parking license plate in 1974 and the first disability placard in 1977. Before 1977, Michigan State Police administered the placard program, which began in 1949 with the return of World War II veterans. In 1995, the Michigan Legislature revised the guidelines for issuing disability parking placards and established a new certification process for obtaining free parking privileges to curb abuses of the program. The Secretary of State is proud of its long tradition of administering the disability parking program and will continue to work with the traffic safety community, law enforcement officials, legislators, disability advocacy groups, businesses, and the public to maintain the highest level of program integrity possible.
HANDICAP PARKING INFORMATION
Parking in a handicapped parking space is a PRIVILEGE that is reserved for handicapped persons who properly display a valid plate or permit. Michigan Law requires ALL THREE of the following to legally park in a handicapped parking space: (MCL 257.67 and .675). Marshall City Ordinance 73.01(19) supports the State of Michigan on the following:
Ø The person with the disability MUST be in the process of being transported in the vehicle which is utilizing the placard;
Ø There MUST be a valid handicapped placard or special registration plate; and
Ø The handicap permit or handicap plate must be displayed property. Permits MUST be displayed on the interior rearview mirror of the vehicle; or, if there is NO interior rearview mirror, on the lower left corner of the dashboard when the vehicle is parked.
Failure to comply with all three may result in the issuance of a parking violation. Even if you are handicapped and have a valid handicapped permit, you are illegally parked if it is not properly displayed. Parking across blue stripes is illegal, and a parking violation may be issued. This is NOT a handicap parking spot!
WHO QUALIFIES FOR A DISABILITY PARKING PLACARD OR LICENSE PLATE?
Individuals who have a disability that restricts their ability to walk may qualify for a disability placard or license plate. There are a variety of qualifying disabilities such as: Inability to walk more than 200 feet without having to stop and rest; use of wheelchair, walker, crutch; lung disease, etc. The disability placard and license plate display the international wheelchair access symbol and allow you to park in any designated disability parking space.
Permanent disability placards are blue and are issued for a qualifying disability that is permanent. This means there is no medical expectation the condition will improve. Permanent placards are valid for four years from the holder’s next birthday. Temporary disability placards are red and are issued for a qualifying disability that is medically expected to improve over the next six months. Temporary placards are valid for up to six months. If a medical condition has not improved within that time, a new application must be completed.
HOW DO I RENEW A DISABILITY PARKING PLACARD OR LICENSE PLATE?
Permanent disability placards and disability license plates may be renewed up to 45 days before the expiration date. Renewals may be processed at any Secretary of State branch office. Disability placards may also be renewed by mailing an application to the Department of State, Office of Customer Service, Distributed Services Unit, P.O. Box 30764, Lansing, Michigan, 48909-8264; by calling (888) 767-6424; or faxing an application to (517) 322-1063. Disability license plates may be renewed through the mail, by telephone, Internet, or fax. For complete instructions, refer to your license plate renewal notice or visit the State of Michigan at www.michigan.gov/sos.
MAY I OBTAIN MORE THAN ONE DISABILITY PARKING PLACARD AT A TIME?
Michigan law allows only one disability placard to be issued to a person. The law does not limit the number of placards per family if other members also have a qualifying disability. Additionally, if you have a qualifying disability, you may obtain a disability license plate for each of your registered personal vehicles. Disability license plates can also be obtained for personal vehicles used to transport a disabled family member residing in the same household.
WHEN IS THE USE OF A DISABILITY PARKING PLACARD OR LICENSE PLATE ILLEGAL?
Disability parking laws enable people with severe mobility disabilities to utilize services and employment opportunities by providing accessible parking. The disability placard or license plate is intended for use only by the person with a disability or someone transporting the person with a disability. Under Michigan law, it is illegal to:
• Drive with a disability placard hanging from the rear view mirror.
• Use a disability placard or license plate when the person with a disability is not being transported.
• Lend a disability placard to another person.
• Alter or make a copy of a disability placard.
• Continue using the disability placard issued to a family member who has since passed away. Such disability placards should be immediately surrendered to the Michigan Secretary of State.
WHAT IS VAN ACCESSIBLE PARKING?
Van accessible parking spaces are wider than standard parking spaces to provide room for the van’s wheelchair lift and ramp. It is illegal to park on the painted stripes next to a disability parking space or block any ramps or curb cuts. Violators may be ticketed and their vehicles towed.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF SOMEONE IS ILLEGALLY PARKING IN A DISABILITY PARKING SPACE?
If you suspect someone is illegally parking in a disability parking space, you should notify the local authority responsible for parking enforcement – in most communities that would be either the police or parking enforcement bureau. They can investigate the situation and determine whether a violation has occurred. The Secretary of State does not have the authority to enforce disability parking laws and ordinances.
WHAT CAN I DO IF I BELEVE SOMEONE APPLIED FOR A DISABILITY PARKING PLACARD OR LICENSE PLATE FRAUDULENTLY?
The Secretary of State will investigate if there is reason to believe a disability placard or license plate was issued improperly. If you have evidence to suggest a fraudulent application was made, please contact the Driver Assessment Support Section at (888) 767-6424. You must supply the placard or license plate number, along with your reasons for believing that fraud was involved.
HOW LONG IS A DISABILITY PARKING PLACARD VALID?
A disability license plate registered to the family member of an individual with disabilities who has since passed away remains valid until the expiration date of the plate. However, it is illegal to use the license plate to park in disability spaces since the disabled person is not being transported. When it is time to renew the license plate, the disability plate should be returned to the Secretary of State and a regular license plate will be issued. Improper use may result in the immediate confiscation and cancellation of the disability placard or license plate. Furthermore, improper use, altering, forging, or copying a disability placard may result in fines up to $500, jail time of up to 30 days, or both. Local fines may be higher and could include court costs. The Secretary of State may cancel the disability placard or license plate.
CITATIONS AND FINES
Fines/fees for parking in a handicapped designed area can run from $10.00 to $250.00, depending upon the infraction. If a fine is not paid within seven (7) days of issuance, a $2.00 late fee is applied. If the fine is not paid within 30 days, a warning letter will be sent to your address stating that the fine has doubled in price. If the citation remains unpaid after an additional 30 days, a ticket will be issued to the 10th District Court a failure to pay and all further contact and fine amounts will be handled through this court system.
If you have any questions or concerns about handicapped parking, please feel free to contact the Marshall Police Department at 269-781-2596.