Disabled parking permit

A sign requesting permits be displayed for a disabled parking place in Canberra, Australia.
An example of a disabled parking place.
A UK "Blue Badge" Disabled Parking Permit in a custom permit holder for Motorcycles

A disabled parking permit, also known as a handicapped permit, disabled placard, disabled badge and "Blue Badge" in the European Union, is displayed upon parking a vehicle carrying a person whose mobility would be otherwise significantly impaired by one or more of age, illness, disability or infirmity. The permit allows exemption from street-parking charges in some places and is used to park within dedicated disabled parking spaces reserved for people who have satisfied requirements to receive the placard.


European Union

In the European Union (EU), a disabled parking permit allows partial or total exemption from charges or penalties associated with the parking of a motor vehicle used by a badge-holder, and shows entitlement to use of dedicated parking bays and off-street parking (where they are provided). The concession extends in some places to partial or total exemption from tolls or general prohibitions on where a vehicle can be driven. Since 2000, all general disabled parking permits in the EU have been standardised to a common style and blue colour, leading to the officially-used designation "Blue Badge".[1][2] A Blue Badge issued in one country of the EU is generally given equal recognition in others with various exceptions as described for the countries below.


A Disabled Person's Parking Disk (also known as a "Clock") is required in addition to a Blue Badge in some parking places.

Republic of Ireland

Disabled Persons' Parking Permits are issued by the Disabled Drivers Association of Ireland; an application fee of 25 Euro is required. The scheme and its application in Ireland are described on the Citizens Information website.[3]

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom (UK), this scheme of permits was originally introduced (using Orange Badges) by the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970.

Badges are issued as a right if a person meets certain statutory requirements, most of which are associated with actually being in receipt of certain disability benefits from the national Social Security system; additionally, a local authority can make concessionary issues of badges to persons who have a permanent disability which does not fall directly within the more rigid statutory requirements but which seriously impairs their mobility.

General exceptions

The Great Britain (GB) Blue Badge scheme does not apply to parking away from public roads and local authority car parks, with the general concessions often not recognised at ports, airports and railway stations unless the operators have provided voluntary parking privileges.

Parking Maps

Until 2010 Directgov provided a service that covers country wide customised maps for Blue Badge Holders with different base colours reflecting councils policies on Blue Badge Holder's parking.[4] In addition to council policies this service also pin pointed the location of different features specific to disabled community. There are a few dedicated Blue Badge sat-navs available, mainly from the specialist sat-nav company Navevo. See BBNav publicity for a likely list of integral features.

England and Wales

In England and Wales Blue Badge holders are required (unless signs show otherwise) to display a Disabled Person's Parking Disk ("Clock") showing the time the vehicle was first parked so that a time limit can be enforced. Badge holders from elsewhere in the European Union will need to obtain a Clock (obtainable from their Issuing Office in the UK) to validate their badge otherwise the vehicle will be treated as if no badge was displayed.

Local differences in parking rules

In London the volume of traffic has led to restrictions upon the national scheme in some areas with local colour schemes used to restrict standard concessions to local residents, for example the permits are green in Camden, white in Westminster, purple in Kensington and Chelsea, and red in the City of London. In these cities and boroughs special rules and parking spaces are provided for Blue Badge holders.

Similar local schemes operate in other large towns or cities in the UK, for example Norwich operates a 'green badge scheme'.

Northern Ireland

The standard scheme only generally applies to on-street parking and is outlined on the Roads Service Northern Ireland website.[5] A "White Badge" is required for access to Pedestrian Zones.


In Scotland a local authority Parking Attendant (in addition to police and traffic wardens) has the power to inspect a Blue Badge; failure to allow this inspection is an offence. There are also proposals to extend the issue of badges to small children and a wider range of (temporarily or permanently) disabled people.

United States

Handicapped parking space at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill

In the United States, reserved spaces are mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines.[6]

Disabled parking permits generally take the form of either specially marked license plates or a placard that hangs from the rear-view mirror. Plates are generally used for disabled drivers on their personal vehicle, while the portable placard can be moved from one vehicle to another with the disabled person, both when driving or when being transported by another driver.

The medical requirements to obtain a permit vary by state, but usually are confined to specific types of disabilities or conditions. These as a general rule include the use of any assistive device such as a wheelchair, crutches, or cane, as well as a missing leg or foot. Many states also include certain cardiovascular conditions, respiratory problems, and conditions that cause pain while ambulating or otherwise require the person to rest after walking a very short distance. About half of US states (26) include blindness as a disability that can obtain a placard (for use as a passenger) and 14 states include a missing or maimed hand. Four states include deafness, and only two states (Virginia and New York) include mental illness or developmental disabilities.[7][8]

Most if not all states have blue permits for people with lasting or permanent disabilities, and temporary permits that are red or another color for short term conditions such as broken legs or recovering from surgery.

The availability of specially reserved parking spaces is regulated by both federal and state laws. Generally at least one space is available at any public parking location, with more being required based on the size of the parking lot and in some cases the type of location, such as a health care facility. Parking spaces reserved for the disabled are typically marked with the International Symbol of Access, though in practice, the design of the symbol varies widely.[9] Anyone parking in such reserved spaces must have their plate or mirror placard displayed, or else the car can be ticketed for illegal parking. In some major US cities, local law also allows such vehicles to park for free at city parking meters and also exempts from time limits on time parked. Fraudulent use of another person's permit is heavily fined.

If traveling from other countries, requirements to obtain a parking permit vary from state to state. Some states will honour other country permits, while others require application as a visitor/tourist.[10]


  1. ^ "Neuer Parkausweis für Behinderte (English: New parking card for disabled". FAHRLEHRERVERBAND Baden-Württemberg e.V.. http://www.fahrlehrerverband-bw.de/05-Infos-FL/FPX/Texte/2001/fpx-01-01-Behinderten-a.htm. Retrieved 29 April 2010. 
  2. ^ "Parking card for people with disabilities in the European Union: conditions in the member states" (pdf). European Commission. http://www.eu-info.de/static/common/files/view/3731/Parkausweis%20Lnderinformation%20EN.pdf. Retrieved 29 April 2010. 
  3. ^ "Disabled Person's Parking Card". Citizens Information Board. http://www.citizensinformation.ie/categories/travel-and-recreation/traffic-and-parking/disabled_persons_parking_card. Retrieved 19 December 2009. 
  4. ^ "Directgov Blue Badge map". Directgov. http://bluebadge.direct.gov.uk. Retrieved 19 December 2009. 
  5. ^ "Disabled Persons Badge Scheme for Northern Ireland". Roads Service Northern Ireland. http://www.roadsni.gov.uk/index/bluebadge.htm. Retrieved 19 December 2009. 
  6. ^ "4.6 Parking and Passenger Loading Zones". ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities (ADAAG). United States Access Board. http://www.access-board.gov/adaag/html/adaag.htm#4.6. Retrieved 19 December 2009. 
  7. ^ "Disabled Parking Placardsor License Plates Application" (PDF). Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. http://www.dmv.state.va.us/webdoc/pdf/med10.pdf. Retrieved 19 December 2009. 
  8. ^ "Application for a Parking Permit or License Plates, for Persons with Severe Disabilities" (PDF). New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. http://www.nysdmv.com/forms/mv6641.pdf. Retrieved 19 December 2009. 
  9. ^ "www.youcantparkhere.com (A gallery of handicapped parking symbols)". http://www.youcantparkhere.com. Retrieved 19 December 2009. 
  10. ^ "How do I obtain a disabled parking permit in the USA?". U.S. Department of State. http://canberra.usembassy.gov/irc/faq/travel/misc.html#dpp. Retrieved 19 December 2009. [dead link]

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