A disabled parking permit has many benefits – most notably, it allows you to park in handicap parking spaces at places like the mall, the grocery store, or the hospital. Disabled parking spaces are clearly marked by the International Symbol of Access (a wheelchair symbol), which indicates spaces specially reserved for those with a disability.

Disabled parking spaces are best located to serve those with reduced mobility, and they have aisles running alongside them (marked in cross-hatched white and blue) to allow those who require a wheelchair ramp the adequate space to use one.

The rules surrounding disabled parking at your regular locations may seem clear – you know that you should not park in reserved disability spots if you don’t have a disabled parking permit when you go to the store, for example. But what about disabled spaces in hospital parking lots? This can certainly become a more complicated issue.

Maybe you’re visiting a disabled friend or relative in the hospital, and are wondering if you can use their parking permit since you will be using their vehicle, and they are the sole purpose for your visit. Or perhaps you want to know if there’s a separate place for hospital disabled parking. Well, read on for the answers to these questions and more!

disabled parking symbol
Image by Jakub Pabus on Unsplash: This sign will help you recognize disabled parking spaces in hospital parking lots, and elsewhere!

Do I Need To Use A Disabled Parking Permit When I Visit The Hospital?

The short answer to this question is: yes! The same restrictions apply if you are parking in a disabled parking space at the hospital as elsewhere. Only those with a disabled parking permit can use the reserved accessible hospital parking. It doesn’t matter if you’re visiting someone in hospital who has a permit – only the holder of the permit can legally occupy these spaces. If you don’t have a disabled parking permit at the time of visiting the hospital, you will need to park in a regular space.

If you are going to hospital because you think you may have a condition that would make you eligible for a permit, you unfortunately still cannot use disabled parking, even if you think you are an obvious candidate. It’s important that you wait until you actually have your permit with you in your vehicle before you park in a disabled parking space. It’s also vital to ensure you never accidentally occupy ambulance bays or other emergency parking spots when you go to the hospital.

Is Hospital Parking Free For Disabled Drivers?

This really depends on the hospital in question, as the rules differ. Some hospitals charge for parking in general, and others do not. You will never need to pay more than the regular fee for disabled parking. However, many hospitals in larger urban centers charge for parking by the hour, and you may need to pay this fee in order to leave the parking lot – so make sure you check out how it works at your nearest hospital.

Disabled parking rules vary on a state-by-state basis too. Many states offer free metered parking for those with a permit (for a certain number of hours), but others don’t. By being aware of these rules, you’ll make parking a lot less stressful for yourself.

hospital entrance
Image by A n v e s h on Unsplash: As a disabled driver, you’re entitled to accessible hospital parking.

In case you’re worried about the availability of disabled parking spaces at the hospital, it’s also worth noting that by law, businesses are required to designate a certain number of parking spaces as accessible. The Americans with Disabilities Act sets standards that aim to improve accessibility for those with disabilities, and therefore a certain percentage of any parking lot needs to be disabled parking. At medical facilities (and hospitals) this percentage is higher – a minimum 10% disabled parking is required. This means that it should be easier than usual to find disabled parking spaces at your local hospital.

How do I get a disabled parking permit?

The process for getting a disabled parking permit differs in each state. However, the main steps involve completing a medical consultation with a licensed state physician, having them certify your application form, and then submitting your application either via mail, in person, or sometimes, online.

If you think you have a qualifying condition, you should consider applying for a parking permit, allowing you to access your state’s disabled parking program. To begin the application process, contact us to organize your medical consultation online today!

Featured image by Martha Dominguez de Gouveia on Unsplash