One of the many new laws that went into effect in Texas this month will change the rules for disabled vets when it comes to accessible parking spaces.
Disabled veteran’s license plates, also referred to as DV plates, will no longer be sufficient by themselves to legally park in accessible parking spaces starting Jan. 1, 2022, according to Senate Bill 792, which was signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott in May.
Texas law will require all vehicles with DV plates parked in an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible parking space to also display a placard with the International Symbol of Access (ISA).
Starting Dec. 1, under this new law, the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles will no longer automatically issue disability placards with DV plates. A note with a doctor’s signature will be required to obtain a placard.
Starting Jan. 1, 2022, to park in an ADA parking space requires either a new DV license plate with the ISA or a non-expired DV plate along with a current parking placard.
While all of the new legislation that was passed and signed during the 87th Texas Legislature went into effect on Sept. 1, disabled veterans have a few more months before this law is enforced.
“Nothing changed for DV plateholders on Sept. 1, 2021. They may still park in disabled parking spaces until Jan. 1. 2022,” said a spokesperson for the TXDMV.
According to the Texas DMV, “placard and plate eligibility is based on a medical condition that meets the legal definition of a disability” which includes the following:
-Visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with correcting lenses.
-Visual acuity of more than 20/200 but with a limited field of vision in which the widest diameter of the visual field subtends an angle of 20 degrees or less.
-Mobility problems that substantially impair a person’s ability to move around; these problems can be caused by:
- Lung disease.
- Uses portable oxygen
- Cardiac deficiency.
- Wheelchair confinement.
- Arthritis, neurological, or orthopedic condition. o Foot disorder.
- Other medical condition causing a person to use a brace, cane, crutch or other assistive device.
As of August 2021, disabled veterans in Texas have registered 403,000 vehicles with DV plates, according to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles.
Using the parking placard or a license plate with ISA to park in an accessible parking space is only allowed when the person with the disability is utilizing the space, or the disabled person is being driven by another person.
People who misuse disabled parking placards are subject to fines of up to $1,250 and/or up to 50 hours of community service, according to the TXDMV.
Applications for disabled veteran license plates and parking placards can be found here.
Vehicles with DV plates are still exempt from paying parking fees collected through meters that are charged by a governmental authority other than a branch of the federal government.