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Disabled Parking: Placards and Plates

Do you know the difference between disable parking placards and plates? Or the color of disabled parking placards? We will breakdown disabled parking signs, symbols and colors for Texas drivers.

Disabled Parking – Placards and ISA Plates

Drivers with disabled placards and license plates have the ability to park their vehicle in any spot designated for a person with disabilities. Vehicles and drivers who legally present their disabled parking card or license plate are also exempt from local and state government parking meters. Texas law does require drivers to adhere to meter limits and time limits, however cities do have the ability to extend meter time.

Placards are the red and blue tag that drivers are required to hang from their rearview mirror. Blue placards are for persons who are permanently disabled. Blue placards expire every 4 years and need to be renewed. Red placards are for persons who have a temporary disability and are only valid six months or less.

The International Symbol of Access also referred to as ISA is the symbol most of us should recognize. The ISA symbol is the wheelchair icon used on license plates and disabled parking signs.

Disabled Parking Eligibility

Disabled parking placards and license plates are only given to individuals who meet the legal definition of a disability for a medical condition. According to a disability is a condition in which a person has:

  • Visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with correcting lenses
  • Visual acuity of more than 20/200 but with a limited field of vision in which the widest diameter of the visual field subtends an angle of 20 degrees or less
  • Mobility problems that substantially impair a person’s ability to move around; these problems can be caused by:
    • Paralysis
    • Lung disease
    • Cardiac deficiency
    • Wheelchair confinement
    • Arthritis
    • Foot disorder
    • Other medical condition causing a person to use a brace, cane, crutch or other assistive device.

Violation of Disabled Parking Placards and Plates

In Texas, a disabled parking placard and license plate is only valid when the person eligible for disabled parking is present. The person with the disability will need to be driving or in the vehicle in which the placard or license plate is being used. If the disabled person is not present, the person using the disabled parking spot is breaking Texas law. Misuse of a placard or license plate can result in fines up to $1,250 and up to 50 hours of community service.

Disabled Parking for Disabled Veterans

If a Texas license plate features “DV” as the initial part of the license plate number, this person is considered to be a disabled veteran. Plates with a “DV” are eligible to the same disabled parking rights and privileges as license plates with the ISA (International Symbol of Access). There is a checklist to qualify for the “DV” license plate and eligibility is also granted from the US Department of Veteran Affairs.

According to, “vehicles with Disabled Veteran license plates may be parked for an unlimited period in a parking space or area that is designated specifically for persons with physical disabilities on the property of an institution of higher education regardless of whether a permit is generally required for the use of the space or area. For more information about campus parking privileges, please contact the institution of higher education.”

License plates with “DV” or other military honors are also eligible for parking fee exemptions. Some of the military honor license plates include:

  • Air Force Cross
  • Air Medal
  • Air Medal with Valor
  • Army Distinguished Service Cross
  • Bronze Star
  • Bronze Star with Valor
  • Congressional Medal of Honor
  • Defense Superior Service Medal
  • Distinguished Flying Cross
  • Distinguished Service Medal
  • Former Prisoner of War
  • Legion of Merit
  • Legion of Valor
  • Medal of Honor
  • Navy Cross
  • Pearl Harbor Survivor
  • Purple Heart
  • Silver Star
  • World War II Veterans