It is important to be familiar with your state’s disabled driver laws. Each state has its own particular guidelines, and Maine is no exception.
How do you know if you are eligible for a disabled driver permit and/or license plate?
First, you must verify that you suffer from a condition that severely restricts your mobility.
These conditions may include:
- The inability to walk 200 feet without requiring assistance or stopping to rest
- Carrying portable oxygen
- A lung disease the inhibits your ability to breathe
- A neurological, arthritic, or orthopedic condition that limits your mobility
- A cardiac condition classified as a Class III or IV by the American Heart Association
- Legal blindness
- If you require a wheelchair, cane, crutch, or other assistive device
If you suffer from one or more of the following conditions, then you are probably eligible for a disabled driver placard and/or license plate in the state of Maine
I suffer from one or more of these conditions. What is the next step?
You must apply for a placard and/or license plate with the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV). Complete the Application for Disability Plates/Placard (Form PS-18). There is a section on this form that requires a medical professional certify that you do in fact suffer from one or more of these conditions and that you thereby qualify for special parking privileges. Make sure that your doctor completes this section.
Examples of eligible doctors include:
A physician’s assistant
A nurse practitioner
A registered nurse
An ophthalmologist or optometrist
Once your doctor has verified that you suffer from one or more of these conditions, you have three options for submitting your application. You may submit by mail to:
Bureau of Motor Vehicles
29 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333
Apply by fax to (207) 624-9204.
Apply in person at your local Maine BMV office.
For how long is my placard or license plate valid?
Temporary placards in the state of Maine remain valid for six months. Permanent placards are valid for four years, which is longer than many states. Disability license plates expire when your car registration expires, which is once per year.
Where am I allowed to park with my placard and/or license plate?
Your placard and/or license plate allows you to park anywhere you see the International Symbol of Access. You may also park in metered parking spaces for up to two times the time limit without paying the meter fee.
Please be aware that every state has very different laws for how long a disabled driver may park in a metered space. Some states, such as Idaho, allow you to park for an unlimited time. Other states limit your time in a metered area. If you are visiting or traveling through a state and you possess a disabled driver placard or license plate, please be sure to check on that state’s rules for parking in metered spaces.
You may never park in areas marked “no parking anytime” or in bus or loading zones.
May I lend my placard to a friend, even if that friend has an obvious disability?
No. You may never lend your placard to anyone. Your placard must remain in your possession only. Lending out your placard to an outside party is considered abuse or your privileges and may result in a fine of several hundred dollars.
Is there a proper way to display my placard?
Yes. Your placard should hang from your rearview mirror whenever you are parked. If you do not have a rearview mirror in your vehicle, you may display your placard face up on the dashboard. Just make sure that a law enforcement officer can see your placard if he or she needs to. You do not need to display your placard when you are driving, only when your vehicle is parked in a handicap area. Also, you do not have to be the driver of the vehicle, but you must be present in the vehicle, meaning you may be a passenger, in order to receive handicap parking privileges.
How do I renew my placard and/ or license plate?
To renew your placard, you will need to complete the Application for Disability Plates/Placard (Form PS-18). However, please note that you do not need to take this form to a medical professional and have him or her certify that you suffer from a disability. Many states do require you to have a medical professional verify that you have a disability each time you renew. Maine does not require this. Next, mail the application to the address on the form, submit the form via fax to (207) 624-9204, or deliver the form by hand to your local BMV.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Disabled Driver Laws and Permits in Maine and was authored by Valerie Johnston.