Being a disabled driver is different in each state. The following are some of the qualifications you must possess in the state of California to obtain disabled driver status.
How do I know if am eligible for a disabled driver permit and/or license plate?
You may apply for a disabled driver permit if your mobility is limited due to having lost the use of one or both arms, both hands, or have been diagnosed with a disease that restricts your movement. If you have disabilities other than those listed above, you will need a doctor to fill out and sign the Application for Disabled Person Placard or Plates (REG 195).
Once I have established that I am eligible, how do I go about obtaining my license plate and/or placard in the state of California?
You must first apply for a permit or a license in person at a local California DMV office. In order to receive a permit or license plate, you need to bring the Application for Disabled Person Placard or Plates (REG 195) to a qualified health professional, and have them complete and sign the form. You must then submit the form by mail:
DMV Placard P O Box 932345 Sacramento, CA 94232-3450
This information, including the parking permit form, is available online here.
What is the cost of a placard and/or license plate in California?
Permanent placards in California are free and expire two years from the final day of the month of which they are issued. Temporary placards are also free and expire three months from the last day of the month of which they are issued. License plates cost the regular fee, and the expiration is the same as the expiration on the vehicle.
Plates are issued only after the California DMV reviews and approves your application, affirming that you meet the standards required to obtain disability status. With license plates, you pay the normal registration fees on your vehicle.
Are there different types of placards for disabled drivers in California?
Yes. Permanent parking placards are for those with permanent disabilities. These are valid for two years and expire on June 30 of every odd-numbered year. Temporary parking placards are for those with temporary disabilities. These are valid for up to 180 days or the date noted by your qualifying licensed medical professional on the application, whichever timeframe is less and cannot be renewed more than six times consecutively. Travel parking placards are for California residents who currently have a permanent DP parking placard or DP or DV license plates. These are valid for 30 days after the date DMV issues it to you. Travel parking placards for nonresidents are for those who plan to travel in California and have a permanent disability and/or DV plates. These are valid for up to 90 days or the date noted by the licensed medical professional on the REG 195 application, whichever timeframe is less.
Is there a certain way that I must display my placard?
Placards should be displayed in a place that law enforcement officers are able to see them. Hanging your placard from your rearview mirror or placing it on your dashboard are two suitable places.
How long do I have until my placard expires?
Temporary placards expire after six months and permanent placards expire after five years.
Once I have received my placard or license plate, where am I allowed to park?
Your placard or license plate allows you to park in parking spaces with the wheelchair symbol, also known as the International Symbol of Access, next to a blue curb authorized for persons with disabilities, or next to a green curb. Green curbs are typically timed parking spaces, but with a disability placard or license you may park there for as long as you like. You may also park in an on-street metered parking space without being charged, or in an area that requires a merchant or resident permit. Also, service stations are required to refuel your car at self-service rates unless only one employee is on duty.
Where am I NOT allowed to park with my placard or license?
Your placard or license does not allow you to park in spaces with a crosshatched pattern that is beside a parking space with the wheelchair symbol; these spaces are reserved for those with wheelchair lift access. You also may not park beside red curbs that indicate no stopping, standing or parking, beside yellow curbs, which are designated for commercial vehicles to load and unload freight or passengers, and beside white curbs, which are designated for depositing mail in a mailbox or loading and unloading passengers.
For additional information on disabled driver laws and permits, please reference the California website for disabled drivers. .