Drivers With Disabilities
House Bill 447 was passed by the Delaware General Assembly and signed into law by the Governor. The law's sponsors, working with the State Council for Persons with Disabilities and other disability groups, wrote the legislation to decrease the incidences of people who are not disabled using parking spaces or zones reserved for the persons with disabilities. The legislation makes some significant changes that affect customers who have special license plates (HPxxxx) or parking ID placards. Customers with current license plates or placards are "grandfathered" until the expiration date of their license plates or placards. The following is a brief overview of the legislation:
Customers with special license plates who wish to keep their plates must present a new Division of Motor Vehicles Application for Special License Plate for Persons with Disabilities form, certified by their physician, prior to renewing their vehicles' registrations. A new application must be submitted at the time of each registration renewal. Failure to provide the necessary form will result in the Division being unable to renew your vehicle's registration with a disabled plate. Customers who fail to provide the necessary form at registration renewal will be required to remove their disabled plates and display their regular license plates assigned to their vehicles.
Disabled placards will only be valid for three (3) years. Customers wishing to obtain a new placard or renewing their placard must present a Division of Motor Vehicles Application for Special Disabled License Plate or Special Disabled Parking ID Card that has been signed by their physicians. The Division cannot issue a placard or renew a placard without this application form.
The requirements for eligible disabilities have been changed. All disabilities must be permanent with no prognosis for improvement. Customers must meet one of the following requirements:
- Cannot walk 200 feet without stopping to rest; or
- Cannot walk safely without the use of or assistance from a brace, cane, crutch, another person, prosthetic device, wheelchair or other assistive device; or
- Is restricted by lung disease to such an extent that the applicant's or household member's forced (respiratory) expiratory volume, one second, when measured by spirometry, is less than one liter or the arterial oxygen tension is less than sixty mm/hg. at room air or rest; or
- Uses portable oxygen; or
- Has a cardiac condition to the extent that the applicant's or household member's functional limitations are classified in severity as Class III or Class IV according to the standards set by the American Heart Association; or
- Is severely limited in his or her ability to walk due to an arthritic, neurological or orthopedic condition.
Applicants 85 years of age and older need only show proof of their age to obtain a placard.
The law only applies to passenger cars, station wagons, pickup trucks, motorcycles, panel van trucks or other motor vehicles that have a gross registered weight that does not exceed 14,000 pounds.
Applicants may obtain one special license plate and one windshield placard. Only one placard may be issued to an applicant initially. However, upon written request, an additional placard may be issued to an applicant who does not also have a special license plate.
The person with the disability to whom the plate or placard was issued must be the driver of or passenger in the vehicle when the vehicle is parked in parking areas for persons with disabilities.