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Unveiling the Rules and Regulations of Using a Handicap Placard in Pennsylvania

Unveiling the Rules and Regulations of Using a Handicap Placard in Pennsylvania

Unveiling the Rules and Regulations of Using a Handicap Placard in Pennsylvania


Handicap parking placards are essential for ensuring that individuals with disabilities have access to parking spaces that accommodate their needs. In PA, as in many other states, there are specific rules and regulations governing the use of disability passes. It's crucial to understand these regulations to ensure that you are using your pass correctly and legally. In this article, we will delve into the rules and regulations surrounding handicap placards in Pennsylvania, as well as address frequently asked questions related to their use.

Section 1: Obtaining a Handicap Placard

Who Qualifies for a Handicap Placard in Pennsylvania?

To obtain a handicap placard in Pennsylvania, you must meet specific eligibility criteria. Eligibility is determined based on your medical condition, and it typically includes individuals who:

  1. Cannot walk 200 feet without stopping to rest due to a disability or medical condition.
  2. Cannot walk without the use of, or assistance from, a brace, cane, crutch, another person, prosthetic device, wheelchair, or other mobility aid.
  3. Have a Class 3 or Class 4 cardiac condition, as classified by the American Heart Association.
  4. Are severely limited in their ability to walk due to an arthritic, neurological, or orthopedic condition.
  5. **Have a lung disease to such an extent that their forced (respiratory) expiratory volume for one second, when measured by spirometry, is less than one liter or their arterial oxygen is less than 60 mm/hg at rest.
  6. Use portable oxygen.
  7. Have a disability that limits or impairs the use of one or both lower limbs.

If you meet any of these criteria, you are likely eligible for a disability pass in PA.

How to Apply for a Handicap Placard

To apply for a handicap placard in Pennsylvania, you must complete the "Persons with Disabilities Parking Placard Application" (Form MV-145A). This form can be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) website or any PennDOT office. Once you've completed the application, it must be certified by a licensed healthcare provider, such as a physician, nurse practitioner, or physician's assistant, who can attest to your eligibility based on your medical condition. Once your permit is issued, be mindful of the expiration date to ensure timely renewal.

Temporary and Permanent Placards

Pennsylvania issues both temporary and permanent handicap permits. Temporary ones are typically issued for up to six months and are ideal for individuals with temporary disabilities, while permanent ones are valid for five years and are suitable for those with long-term disabilities. The type of permit you receive will depend on your healthcare provider's recommendation.

Unveiling the Rules and Regulations of Using a Handicap Placard in Pennsylvania

Section 2: Using a Handicap Placard

Where Can You Use a Handicap Placard?

Once you have obtained a disability placard, you may wonder where it can be used. In PA, a handicap pass allows you to park in designated parking spaces, which are typically located close to building entrances, in public parking lots, and on public streets. These spaces are designed to make it easier for individuals with disabilities to access facilities and services.

Proper Display of the Placard

To use your disability pass correctly, it must be properly displayed in your vehicle. The pass should be hung from the rearview mirror when you park in a handicap-designated spot. If your vehicle does not have a rearview mirror, you must display the placard on the dashboard, with the expiration date and side facing up.

Can You Use the Placard in Other Vehicles?

In PA, a disability pass is issued to a specific individual and not a vehicle. Therefore, you can use your pass in any vehicle in which you are traveling, whether you are the driver or a passenger. This flexibility ensures that individuals with disabilities can access designated parking spaces regardless of the vehicle they are using.

Section 3: Misuse and Penalties

Misuse of Handicap Placards

Misusing a disability pass is a serious offense in PA. It undermines the purpose of these passes, which is to provide accessible parking for individuals with disabilities. Misuse can include:

  1. Using someone else's pass without the eligible person being present in the vehicle.
  2. Using an expired or canceled pass.
  3. Creating or possessing counterfeit passes.

Penalties for Misuse

Pennsylvania imposes strict penalties for the misuse of disability passes. Penalties can include:

  1. Fines: Individuals caught misusing a pass may face substantial fines.
  2. Placard Revocation: The PA Department of Transportation can revoke the pass.
  3. Legal Action: Misuse can result in legal action, including criminal charges.

It's essential to understand that these penalties are in place to deter misuse and ensure that designated parking spaces are available to those who truly need them.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long is a disability permit valid in PA?

A permanent permit in Pennsylvania is valid for five years. Temporary ones are typically valid for up to six months, depending on your healthcare provider's recommendation.

Can I use my PA disability permit in other states?

Yes, most states have reciprocity agreements for handicap placards. However, it's essential to check the specific regulations and requirements of the state you plan to visit, as they may have different rules regarding disability parking.

What should I do if my disability permit is lost or stolen?

If your handicap placard is lost or stolen, you should report it to your local law enforcement agency and obtain a replacement from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. You will need to complete the necessary paperwork and pay any applicable fees for a replacement.

Can I lend my permit to a family member or friend?

No, lending your permit to someone else is considered misuse and is illegal. It is issued to a specific individual and should only be used when that individual is present in the vehicle.

What is the fine for misusing a disability permit in PA?

The fines for misusing a permit in Pennsylvania can vary, but they are typically substantial, often exceeding $100. Additionally, other penalties, such as revocation or legal action, may also apply.


Understanding the rules and regulations surrounding handicap placards in Pennsylvania is crucial for both individuals with disabilities and the general public. These regulations exist to ensure that parking spaces are accessible to those who need them most. By following the guidelines outlined in this article, you can use your permit responsibly and help maintain an inclusive and accessible environment for everyone. Remember, misuse of a permit can result in significant penalties, so it's essential to comply with the law and use your permit only when eligible.