It is important that you familiarize yourself with your state’s disability driver laws and permits, even if you are not disabled yourself. Each state has its own unique requirements, and Michigan is not an exception.
How do I know if I am eligible to receive a disabled driver placard and/or license plate?
Michigan, like most states, has a list of criteria for determining if you qualify for disabled driver parking privileges. If you suffer from
- A lung disease that restricts your breathing
- A neurological, arthritic, or orthopedic condition that limits your mobility
- Legal blindness
- Any condition that requires you carry portable oxygen
- A cardiac condition classified as a Class III or IV by the American Heart Association
- A condition that requires you use a wheelchair, cane, crutch or other assistive device
- A condition in which you cannot walk 200 feet without stopping to rest or require assistance
I suffer from one or more of these conditions. Now how do I apply for a disabled driver placard and/or license plate?
The next step is to complete the Disability Parking Placard Application (Form BFS-108), or the Application for a Disability License Plate (Form MV-110). Many states require only one form, whether you are requesting a license plate or a placard. Michigan, however, requires that you specify beforehand.
Your next step is to see a physician
On either Form MV-110 or Form BFS-108, you will see a section that your physician will need to complete for you. Make sure that you see a licensed physician and that he or she completes this section to verify that you do in fact suffer from one or more disabilities that restrict your breathing and/or mobility. A licensed physician may include:
A physician or physician’s assistant An ophthalmologist or optometrist An advanced resident nurse A chiropractor An osteopath
After your doctor has completed the required section of the form, you may submit the form in person to your local Michigan SOS office, or by mail to the address on the form.
How much will I have to pay for my placard and/or license plate?
Placards come in two types, permanent and temporary, and both are free of charge. License plates require only that you pay standard vehicle registration fees.
Please note that if you drive a van that is registered in the state of Michigan, you may be eligible for a 50 percent discount on your registration cost. If this applies to you, please contact the Michigan SOS at (888) 767-6424.
Where am I allowed and not allowed to park with my placard and/or license plate?
In Michigan, as is true of all states, as long as you have your placard displayed when your vehicle is parked, you are allowed to park anywhere you see the International Symbol of Access. You may not park in any area marked “no parking anytime” or in a bus or loading zone.
Please note that Michigan has a unique privilege in that they provide, should you prove eligible, a parking fee exemption sticker. If you are accepted to participate in this program, you will not have to pay metered fees at parking meters. In order to qualify for the fee exemption sticker, you must possess a valid driver’s license, and prove that you lack fine motor control, cannot walk more than 20 feet, and are unable to reach a parking meter because of a mobility device such as a wheelchair.
Please be aware that each state handles parking meter fees for disabled drivers differently. Some states allow you to park for an unlimited time provided you display your placard or you have a disabled driver license plate. Other states offer extended time at the meters for disabled drivers. Please be sure to check on the specific parking meter rules for disabled drivers when you are visiting or traveling through another state.
How do I renew my placard and/or license plate?
To renew in Michigan, you should contact the Michigan SOS offices at (888) 767-6424. Renewals are free, and you do not need to visit your doctor again to have him or her certify that you still suffer from your condition. Many states do require that you visit your physician each time you renew your placard, but Michigan does not.
Disability license plates expire on your birthday, the same time that your vehicle registration expires. You will renew your disabled driver license plate when you renew your vehicle registration.
May I lend my placard out to someone, even if that person has an obvious disability?
No. You may never lend your placard to anyone. This is considered abuse of your disabled parking privileges and you may be subject to a fine of several hundred dollars. The only time you may use a placard is if you are either the driver of the vehicle or a passenger in the vehicle.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Disabled Driver Laws and Permits in Michigan and was authored by Valerie Johnston.