Disabled Parking

Star Who can park in accessible parking spaces?

Texas laws require businesses and government offices to reserve accessible parking spaces for certain people with disabilities. To park in one of these spaces, a vehicle must display one of the following:

  • A special license plate with the symbol of accessibility;

  • A red or blue parking placard that hangs down from the car’s rear-view mirror;

  • A “Disabled Veteran” license plate.

License plates with the symbol of accessibility are available for no extra cost, however, the Texas Department of Transportation charges $3 for a “disabled veteran” license plate and $5 for each parking placard. Individuals can receive up to two parking placards, or one license plate and one parking placard. Placards for people with permanent disabilities expire after four (4) years.

License plates are available for motor vehicles with a capacity of two tons or less. License plates are valid as long as the person owns the vehicle, but plates are usually reissued after eight years. Plates should be removed from the vehicle when it is sold. An individual may receive additional license plates for each vehicle they own that is modified to accommodate a disability.

Individuals with foreign or out-of-state parking placards or license plates can park in accessible parking spaces in Texas. Texans can also use their placards or license plates to park in all other states as well.

Texas law also defines which individuals can obtain the necessary plates or placards to use accessible parking spaces. There are five groups of people who qualify to park in accessible parking spaces:

  1. People with mobility disabilities: Texas law defines a person with a “mobility disability” as someone who needs a device to assist them in walking, such as a wheelchair or a walker or a cane or a prosthetic limb. These individuals can receive special license plates and/or a blue parking placard.


  2. People with other disabilities: This includes people who are legally blind, people who have severe cardiac or respiratory impairments, people who use portable oxygen, and people with other impairments that limit their ability to walk. These individuals can receive special license plates and/or a red parking placard.

  3. People with temporary disabilities: People who have temporary disabilities that impair their walking – such as a broken leg – can receive a temporary red or blue parking placard that expires after six months.

  4. Veterans with disabilities: People who have a 60% VA service connected disability, or who are surviving spouses of a veteran with such a disability rating, may purchase special “disabled veteran” license plates from the Texas Department of Transportation. Texas law allows people with “disabled veteran” plates to park in accessible parking spaces.


  5. People who operate residential facilities for people with disabilities: Texas law allows residential facilities that serve people with disabilities, including facilities that serve veterans, to receive license plates and/or blue placards for vans or buses that transport people with disabilities.

Star What are the laws regarding who can park in accessible parking spaces?

Texas law provides that a vehicle may be parked for an unlimited period in a parking space that is designed specifically for persons with physical disabilities if the vehicle is being operated by or for the transportation of a person with a disability, and if the vehicle displays the appropriate plate or placard. Texas law also provides that a vehicle operated by or for the transportation of a person with a disability and displaying the appropriate plate or placard may park for free at a parking meter for an unlimited time.

However, Texas law no longer allows individuals with disabilities who display a plate or a placard to park for free at government-owned parking lots (such as at airports or parking garages) unless the government entity passes an ordinance allowing such free parking. Texas law allows individuals to park using placards and plates from other states and foreign countries; and Texas placards and plates are recognized by all other states.

Texas law allows parking placards to be removed and displayed in any vehicle used for transportation of a person with a disability. People with disabilities can apply for placards even if they do not own a car.

It is a violation of Texas law:

  • To park a vehicle in an accessible parking space without displaying the appropriate plate or placard, even if a driver or a passenger of the vehicle has a disability;

  • To park a vehicle in an accessible space when neither the driver nor any passenger has a disability, even if the vehicle displays the appropriate plate or placard;

  • To park a vehicle with a placard or plate that is expired;
    To park a vehicle with a placard or plate that belongs to someone who is not a driver or a passenger in the vehicle;

  • To lend a parking placard to an individual without a disability who used that placard to violate state law;

  • To steal or counterfeit a parking placard or license plate;

  • To park a car in such a way that it blocks access to an accessible parking space, an access aisle, or any architectural improvement that provides access for people with disabilities, such as a ramp or a curb cut.

Violations of these laws are punishable by the seizure of the parking placard and by fine, in the following amounts:

  • First offense: $250-$500

  • Second offense: $300-$600

  • Third offense: $300-$600

  • Fourth offense: $500-$1000, plus 20-50 hours of community service

  • Fifth offense: $1000, plus 50 hours of community service

Star How do I apply for a special license plate or parking placard?

    1. Obtain the proper form.

      Individuals who wish to apply to receive plates and/or placards must fill out Texas Department of Motor Vehicles form VTR-214. The form can be obtained from the County Tax Assessor/Collector’s Office, and is also available online at the TXDMV Website.


    2. Fill out the bottom part of the form.

      Choose the type of placard and/or plate you’re applying for, and then provide your name, signature, driver’s license or identification card number, the date, and your address. If you’re applying for license plates, fill out the information about your car. Do not fill out the top half of the form.


    3. Visit your physician or podiatrist.

      A physician or podiatrist must fill out the top half of the form and must sign the form. The physician or podiatrist must be licensed in Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, or New Mexico, or else be an employee of the Veterans Administration. The signature must be notarized unless the physician or podiatrist attaches a separate written original prescription on a prescription form or on his letterhead. A podiatrist may complete the form only if the applicant has a disorder of the foot that limits mobility.

    4. Return the form to the County Tax Assessor/Collector in the county where you live.

      If your plates or placards expire, or are lost or stolen, you must complete a new form. However, people with permanent disabilities do not have to have a physician sign subsequent forms.

Star What are “blue placard only” spaces?

As of September 1, 1999, Texas law requires that businesses that undergo new construction or alteration must separate their accessible parking spaces into two groups. The first group of spaces includes the spaces closest to the entrance of the building and all van-accessible spaces. These spaces are issued blue parking placards. It is a violation of Texas law for anyone not displaying blue parking placards – even people who have red placards or license plates – to park in reserved “blue placard only” spaces. One half of all accessible parking spaces must be designated as “blue placard only” spaces.

All individuals with disabilities can use the second group of spaces, whether they display a blue or red placard or a license plate. Additionally, individuals with blue or red placards or license plates can park in any other space that has not been specifically designated as a “blue placard only” space.

Government entities are not required to assign spaces as “blue placard only.” Anyone with a blue or red placard or a license plate can park in any accessible space owned by the state, or any city, county, or school district.

  • If you have a BLUE placard, you may park in ANY accessible parking space.


  • If you have a RED placard, you may park ONLY in RED spaces, or in any space that is NOT color-coded.
  • If the parking lot ONLY has BLUE colored spaces, then it is permissible for those with RED permits to park in those spaces.

  • If you have license plates with the accessibility symbol, and do not have a BLUE placard, you may park ONLY in RED spaces or in any space that is NOT color-coded.


  • If you have “disabled veteran” plates, and do not have a BLUE placard, you may park either RED or BLUE spaces.

Motor Vehicle

Jefferson County Tax Office

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