Disabled parking permits are issued in Texas by the Department of Motor Vehicles. These permits are a part of an inter-state network of disabled parking spaces available to disabled persons all across America. When you see a blue and white handicapped sign, you are seeing a little piece of Texas history in action.

But, how can that piece of history work for you? If you have difficulty walking more than 200 feet and feel you would benefit from a disabled parking permit, there are just three steps you need to take.

Step one: Establish your eligibility for disabled parking

Step two: Verify your eligibility with a physician signed certificate

Step three: File your paperwork with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles

Still not sure how to go from here? Don’t worry. Follow along with these steps and you’ll be safer and more comfortable with your disabled parking permit in no time at all.

How do I Qualify For Disabled Parking?

Disabled parking permits are given out based on that one criterion mentioned above, that is, the inability to walk more than 200 feet without undue pain or risk of falling. Now, let’s elaborate on that. There are lots of conditions and disabilities that could cause a person ambulatory difficulties. While there is no exhaustive or master list, here are some of the more common causes for eligibility.

  • Use of a prosthetic device or brace
  • Neurological conditions causing seizures, dizziness, loss of balance or sudden and uncontrolled loss of muscle tone
  • Severe heart conditions or a history of heart attack and stroke, including the use of a pacemaker
  • Reliance on supplemental oxygen or a tendency to drop below 95% oxygenation on room air
  • Use of a wheelchair, walker, cane, brace or other assistive device
  • Legal blindness or partial blindness including cataracts

This list is by nature incomplete but should give you a better idea of the kinds of conditions that qualify. If you feel you may qualify for the disabled parking permit program, talk to your doctor about your eligibility.

The state of Texas also recognizes the need for temporary access to the disabled parking permit program. If you have been injured severely in the form of a broken bone, back injury or other accident altering your ability to walk more than 200 feet, you may qualify for a disabled parking permit on a temporary basis. These placards last six months.

Who Can Sign a Physician Signed Certificate?

As the name implies, a physician signed certificate can be signed by your primary care doctor. This certificate is a legal document you submit to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles to verify your disability and obtain your disabled parking permit. Did you know that it can be signed by medical professionals other than an M.D?

Physician’s assistants and nurse practitioners, as members of your care team, can also sign this document. Also, many specialists can provide the necessary proof of your condition, if they work closely with you and are familiar with your particular disability. Optometrists can verify blindness, physical therapists can verify paralysis, and so forth. Be sure to ask your care team who can sign this document for you.

If you are not currently seeing a primary care doctor or a specialist, you may wish to seek a disability consultation through a virtual visit. Virtual visits give you access to the best and brightest medical professionals in Texas right from your home. Because of the ease of scheduling and streamlined, focused care provided by virtual visits, many Texas residents are choosing to obtain their physician signed certificate that way.

How Do I File for Disabled Parking in Texas?

Once you have your physician signed certificate, it’s time to file your paperwork with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. The Application for Persons with Disabilities Parking Placard and/or License Plate (Form VTR-214) must be filled out in person at a local Texas office.

Be sure to bring a form of photo I.D and the certificate stating the nature and duration of your disability. You will then be issued a placard in either red or blue. Red placards are temporary placards lasting up to six months. Blue placards are permanent, though they do expire every four years.

If you wish, you may also purchase a disabled parking permit license plate. The same fees for license plate renewal apply.

Texas Parking Rules

Once you have your disabled parking permit placard, review the rules before you take it on the road.

You must display your disabled parking permit placard prominently while parked in a handicapped space. Laying the placard on the dashboard or hanging the placard from the rearview mirror are popular choices. Remember to remove your placard from the rearview mirror while driving. While it is convenient, it is also an obstruction of view and could land you with a ticket.

If your permit is lost or stolen, report it as soon as possible to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles office where it was issued. Not only can they fix you up with a replacement, which you need to park, but they will alert local parking enforcement. That way, if the serial number on your old parking permit is seen, the thief will be fined or imprisoned for their misdeeds.

If you see someone park in a disabled parking space without displaying a disabled parking permit placard, this is a crime. Be sure to inform local law enforcement of the time, place and license plate number of the offense. It is more than rude to park illegally in a handicapped space, it is dangerous. Many disabled people are at risk for falls when they are forced to walk farther or squeeze between cars. Keep your community safe by reporting parking violations.

Remember that the disabled parking permit program is about safety. The Lonestar state is dedicated to keeping residents and visitors fall free through the disabled parking permit program. If you feel you would benefit from a disabled parking permit, talk with your doctor.