Disabled Driver Laws and Permits in Florida

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Florida has its own specific requirements for disabled driving permits. The following are some of the rules and guidelines that you must follow in the state of Florida to qualify as a disabled driver.

How do I know if I am eligible for a disabled driver placard?

You may be eligible for a disabled driver placard and/or license plate if you suffer from one of the following conditions:

  • You cannot walk 200 feet without stopping to take a rest.

  • You suffer from a lung disease that inhibits your ability to breathe.

  • If you suffer from a cardiac condition classified as a Class III or IV by the American Heart Association.

  • If you have lost the use of both hands.

  • If you are missing an arm or leg, or both arms or both legs.

  • If you are legally blind.

Florida provides both temporary and permanent placards and license plates. Let’s talk first about placards.

Placards

Placards are available in two types: temporary and permanent. Temporary placards are valid for up to six months, while permanent placards are valid up to four years. Placards are available to both disabled individuals and organizations that transport disabled individuals. In certain cases, you may request multiple placards. If you travel often, belong to an organization that possesses multiple vehicles, or if you are quadriplegic.

How do I apply?

To apply for a Florida disabled driver placard, you must apply in person at a Florida tax collector or tag office. If you are reapplying, you may opt to send your materials by mail to your local Florida DMV office. To apply for a Florida disabled driver placard you must complete the Application for Disabled Person Parking Permit (Form HSMV 83039).

You must have a licensed medical professional certify on this form that you are eligible for a disabled driver placard. Eligible medical professionals include

  • A general physician
  • An ophthalmologist or optometrist
  • A podiatrist
  • A chiropractor
  • A nurse practitioner
  • A physician’s assistant

If you are applying for a permanent placard you will not pay anything; however, temporary placards cost 15 dollars.

What if I am visiting Florida from out of state?

If you are a visiting handicap driver from out of state, you may use your home state placard, but be aware that the rules and guidelines for disabled drivers in Florida may not be the same as they are in other states. If you are a disabled driver visiting from out of the country, you may apply for a temporary placard. In order to do this, you will need a copy of your disabled driver permit from your country of residence, a form of identification such as a passport, and you will need to pay the standard fee of 15 dollars.

You must display your placard in plain view. This means hanging your placard from your rearview mirror with the expiration date and decal visible from the front of the vehicle. Be sure to have your placard registration document with you at all times, in case a law enforcement officer needs to view these items.

How do I renew my placard?

The Florida DHSMV will send you a notice to indicate that your disabled driver placard will soon expire. To renew your placard, you will need to take the Application for Disabled Person Parking Permit (Form HSMV 83039) to your closest Florida DHSMV tag office or tax collector's office. Your application requires that a licensed medical professional certify that you do in fact suffer from a disability that inhabits your ability to operate a vehicle. In order to renew, you must present a driver’s license, ID card, or your physician’s certification that due to your impairment you cannot obtain a driver’s license.

It is also important not to let anyone else use your parking placard. You are the only driver authorized to use your placard. Also you may not use an expired placard, and although you should have your placard hanging from your rearview mirror while you are parked, please do not drive with the placard hanging from the mirror, as this may obstruct your ability to see while operating the vehicle.

Disabled driver license plates

Let’s talk now about disabled driver license plates in the state of Florida. You may request your disabled driver license plate when you submit your application for a disabled driver placard. You renew this license plate just as you would renew other plates and car registration.

Is there anywhere I am not allowed to park with my placard?

While your disabled driver placard and/or license plate allows you to park in many areas, there are still some areas that are off limits. These include areas marked “no parking anytime” and “no stopping” zones for emergency vehicles or buses; and striped areas that are beside disabled parking areas. Please note that in the state of Florida you are allowed to park in metered spaces for up to four hours without paying the meter fee as long as you have your license plate or your disabled parking placard clearly displayed.


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