The extensive parking lots and driveways of Florida can be somewhat of a challenge for people with any form of physical disability. This is why special parking spaces exist, and to use them, people who qualify are able to receive a special parking permit that enables disability parking.
Disabled Parking in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
The due process to get one from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FL-DHSMV, or colloquially, DMV) can be quite simple. It consists of a simple application availed by a doctor which is then submitted to the DMV. If you have an impairment and need one of these, then let us guide you through this process so you can park comfortably from now on:
Temporary or Permanent
There are two types of permits and plates issued by the state: a temporary plate and placard that will be valid for 6 months issued for those with conditions that will affect them for a relatively short period of time, and a regular (or permanent) one for those with conditions that are or will last longer that a year.
Temporary permits will expire according to the date indicated by the doctor who signed your application for such permit. Permanent permits expire on your birthday four years after receiving it, and permits for organizations expire on June 30th after 4 years of being issued.
Conditions that Apply for a Permit
Now that you are clear on which kind of permit suits you, it would be best if you found out which conditions are legally considered as disabilities by the FLDHSMV. The following conditions are the ones recognized by the state of Florida:
- Inability to walk without the assistance of a device or another person. If by using the device you are able to move without a severe limitation, you will not be eligible for this permit.
- Cardiac system conditions that limit your functioning significantly.
- Being legally blind and certified as such by an optometrist.
- Use of portable oxygen.
- Lung diseases that cause breathing restrictions.
- Orthopedic, arthritic or neurological conditions that limit your ability to walk.
- Having to use a wheelchair permanently.
If you're under any of these conditions, then you should contact Auto Tags of Florida to help you start the process. Getting the certification from your doctor will be your next step.
For a license plate with the international wheelchair symbol on it instead of a hanging placard permit, there's a separate application you must complete. The same process applies for this one.
Since it's the doctor's job to provide verification of your condition, you should know which doctors are able to certify your condition and whether it's permanent or temporary. Qualified doctors include chiropractors, physicians, licensed physician's assistants, podiatric or osteopathic physicians, registered nurses under licensed physicians and optometrists (for dealing with eyesight disabilities). Keep in mind that medical certifications are valid for a period of 12 months before submitting.
When the form is complete, you'll need to pay the fee for your first placard if it's temporary when submitting it. There are no fees for permanent permits and both must be submitted with some form of identification, whether it's your driver's license or an ID card.
If you're visiting from another state and have a disability placard, you can use that home state placard just as you would use one from Florida. If you have one from another country, you can apply for a temporary placard by submitting a copy of your current disability permit, your passport and the fee to a tag office in the State of Florida or at the DMV.
Renewing and Replacing Permits
Before your permit expires, the DMV should be sending you a renewal notice so you can submit the needed requirements on time. As we've already discussed, expiration dates will depend on the doctor's indications for temporary permits, and four-year terms that end on your birthday or June 30th for personal permanent permits and organizational permits respectively.
Renewal applications follow the same steps as first applications, including payment fees for temporary placards if they're issued after 12 months of the original. If you’re not sure what to do, it’s easy to bring this information to Auto Tags of Florida, and we will help you take care of this process quickly and efficiently.
If by any chance you no longer have your permit or is damaged in some way it cannot be used, there's good and bad news. The bad one is you'll need to reapply for a new placard. The good news is that the process is exactly the same as when applying for it the first time, so you shouldn't have much trouble with it. Keep in mind that medical certifications will only be valid for twelve months, so you'll need a new one if the first one is already expired.
Things To Consider
A disabled parking permit will allow you special parking privileges, so you may park in marked handicap spaces and you'll even be able to park for free at parking meters for up to four hours. However, you still may be charged parking fees for parking spaces used for entertainment purposes and you may still subject to extended airport parking charges.
Your permits and placards must be displayed appropriately. Hang your placard in your rearview mirror when parking, and do it in such a way that its expiration date can be seen from outside.
Such permits only apply to the person who issued them and only when they are in the car. The tag may be used in different vehicles since it's not bound to the car itself but the disabled person making use of it. If by any chance your permit is being used by another person while driving and you're not in the car, that person will be liable to strict and hefty charges.
Remember to be safe on the road and always park where you should!
Would you like some advice or assistance on getting your disabled parking permits? Be sure to contact Auto Tags of Florida at (954)848-4808, and we'll be sure to help you get everything you need!