Handicap Placards in North Carolina
Most major parking lots in North Carolina will have one or a few blue-painted parking spaces close to a building’s entrance, along with a wheelchair ramp, which are reserved specifically for disabled drivers. These licensed drivers are allowed to apply for special parking placards which give them access to these spaces; anyone else caught parking in a handicap spot will face fines and a possible towing of their vehicle. This program exists to spare people who have limited mobility the trouble of crossing great distances to get to their destinations once they park their cars.
What Defines a Disabled Driver?
Handicaps and disabilities, for the purposes of qualifying for a handicap parking placard, are defined by the DMV by how they affect a person’s mobility. Someone who is unable to move on foot more than 200 feet without having to take a break is considered disabled, as is someone who relies on special equipment such as crutches, canes, braces, prosthetics, or wheelchairs to get around.
Diseases which affect other organs in the body can ultimately restrict our motion as well. Lung disease and heart conditions can make it difficult for people to get around, as can blindness or overall arthritis. If you are not sure if your mobility impairment qualifies you for a disabled license plate or placard, ask your doctor.
Applying for a Handicap Placard or License Plate
To apply for a permanent handicap dashboard placard or license plate, complete an Application for Disability Parking Placard and have it signed and verified by a medical professional. Your doctor will determine the realistic length of your disability. This is to prevent abuse of the system by individuals who recover from their disabilities yet continue to use their placard for special parking privileges. Some conditions qualify for a permanent disability, while others may be recovered from in a matter of months. There is a small fee for each placard a person applies for, and each driver is limited to two placards total.
Driving Restrictions for Handicapped People
Disabilities come in many forms. People with disabilities are not prevented from getting a drivers license, so long as the disability does not affect their ability to drive safely. Many types of disabilities will not remove a person’s ability to drive completely, but may place certain restrictions on what they can do (such as a paraplegic driver requiring hand controls for their brakes and accelerator). These restrictions will be identified when you apply for your license.