What Are Laws for Handicap Parking Spaces?


Handicap parking spaces tend to be in the best locations in the parking lot. These handicapped parking spaces make it easy to load and unload the wheelchairs and walkers of the disabled. What are laws for handicap parking spaces?

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The primary goal of the handicapped parking space law is to provide for the safe, convenient and comfortable vehicular entrance and exit of those with disabilities. These individuals might have canes, walkers or wheelchairs that need more space for safe operation than a normal parking spot would. Furthermore, being closer to a facility entrance makes it less laborious for the handicapped individual to access the facility.

The federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) governs disabled parking lots. You might notice that for every 25 normal parking spots, there is supposed to be 1 handicapped parking spot. These are reserved for those with a handicapped license plate or placard. These rules, regulations and laws apply to both public and private parking lots.

Disabled Parking Space Location

The parking spaces are supposed to be located near entrances. If there is no building entrance near the parking lot, then the handicapped spaces are supposed to be nearest to the pedestrian walkways.

If a parking lot has a capacity of 501 – 1000 spots, then 2% must be allocated for handicap parking. There are other ADA guidelines for lots of a larger size. If the parking lot only has 1 handicap space, then it must be van accessible.

How Big Are Handicap Spaces?

The primary yardstick for the size of a handicap space is the small van with automatic lift for wheelchairs. The ADA also sets the standard for the width and height of handicap spaces. The handicap parking space must be 96 inches wide; the van-accessible space clearance should be at least 98 inches.

There must also be a “No Parking Space” between the handicap spaces. This is for the automatic lift, so wheelchairs and walkers can be loaded and unloaded. This “No Parking Space” must be 60 inches wide. The space between two van-accessible spaces must be 96 inches wide, so the automatic lift can be fully extended.

Handicapped Parking Penalties

If you are found parking in a handicapped spot, but you are not disabled, then the police can charge you with fraud. Although federal law establishes the guidelines for the disabled parking lots, the states have control over enforcement and the penalties assessed for illegally parking in a handicapped spot. You should check the state’s vehicle code to determine the specific level of the fine.

It is also illegal to lend someone who is not handicapped, your handicapped parking placard. If you drive a handicapped person’s car and that person is not in the car, you cannot park in the handicapped parking spot yourself. Of course, those who transport the disabled can park in these spots. The California fine for handicapped parking fraud is between $250 and $2,500.