Friday, October 15, 2010

In Connecticut, no more accessible parking tags for life

From NBC-TV Connecticut:

People in Connecticut who are permanently disabled will no longer get handicapped parking permits for life.

The Department of Motor Vehicles has decided to phase out permanent disability permits with a "lifetime" designation, the agency said Oct. 12.

Instead, disabled people who qualify will receive new permits with an expiration date. They will be required to renew the permits at the DMV when they expire.

"We are doing this because we want to protect people with disabilities from having their parking spaces used by individuals who fail to qualify for that special parking privilege," DMV Commissioner Robert Ward said.

There are about 310,000 permanent parking placards in use across the state, and it may take several years to cancel all of them, the agency said. Disabled drivers will be notified that their permits must be changed to the new system.

People will now also need a valid driver's license or ID card to obtain or renew the new parking permits, according to the DMV. Residents who don't have one, will have to get a license or ID card before applying for the new permits.

"Although we are changing the process, we wanted it to be easy for customers to renew their permits at a time when they have to visit the DMV for license or ID card business," Ward said.

Applying for, or renewing the disabled parking permits will now require a doctor or other medical professional to certify the person's disability. And the state will require doctors to provide their medical license numbers on the permit application form. The DMV says it will help them monitor the number of permits each doctor issues, and allow them to spot any sign of misuse.

The DMV will also only issue one permit per applicant. Until now, disabled drivers were given two placards.

People with a temporary disability can apply for a six-month parking permit, with proper certification from a doctor.