2011 Washington Code
Title 46 Motor vehicles
46.16 Vehicle licenses.
46.16.381 Special parking for persons with disabilities -- Penalties -- Enforcement -- Definition.
(1) The director shall grant special parking privileges to any person who has a disability that limits or impairs the ability to walk or involves acute sensitivity to light and meets one of the following criteria, as determined by a licensed physician, an advanced registered nurse practitioner licensed under chapter 18.79 RCW, or a physician assistant licensed under chapter 18.71A or 18.57A RCW:
(a) Cannot walk two hundred feet without stopping to rest;
(b) Is severely limited in ability to walk due to arthritic, neurological, or orthopedic condition;
(c) Has such a severe disability, that the person cannot walk without the use of or assistance from a brace, cane, another person, prosthetic device, wheelchair, or other assistive device;
(d) Uses portable oxygen;
(e) Is restricted by lung disease to such an extent that forced expiratory respiratory volume, when measured by spirometry is less than one liter per second or the arterial oxygen tension is less than sixty mm/hg on room air at rest;
(f) Impairment by cardiovascular disease or cardiac condition to the extent that the person's functional limitations are classified as class III or IV under standards accepted by the American Heart Association;
(g) Has a disability resulting from an acute sensitivity to automobile emissions which limits or impairs the ability to walk. The personal physician, advanced registered nurse practitioner, or physician assistant of the applicant shall document that the disability is comparable in severity to the others listed in this subsection;
(h) Is legally blind and has limited mobility; or
(i) Is restricted by a form of porphyria to the extent that the applicant would significantly benefit from a decrease in exposure to light.
(2) The applications for parking permits for persons with disabilities and parking permits for persons with temporary disabilities are official state documents. Knowingly providing false information in conjunction with the application is a gross misdemeanor punishable under chapter 9A.20 RCW. The following statement must appear on each application form immediately below the physician's, advanced registered nurse practitioner's, or physician assistant's signature and immediately below the applicant's signature: "A parking permit for a person with disabilities may be issued only for a medical necessity that severely affects mobility or involves acute sensitivity to light (RCW 46.16.381). Knowingly providing false information on this application is a gross misdemeanor. The penalty is up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000 or both."
(3) Persons who qualify for special parking privileges are entitled to receive from the department of licensing a removable windshield placard bearing the international symbol of access and an individual serial number, along with a special identification card bearing the name and date of birth of the person to whom the placard is issued, and the placard's serial number. The special identification card shall be issued to all persons who are issued parking placards, including those issued for temporary disabilities, and special parking license plates for persons with disabilities. The department shall design the placard to be displayed when the vehicle is parked by suspending it from the rearview mirror, or in the absence of a rearview mirror the card may be displayed on the dashboard of any vehicle used to transport the person with disabilities. Instead of regular motor vehicle license plates, persons with disabilities are entitled to receive special license plates under this section or *RCW 46.16.385 bearing the international symbol of access for one vehicle registered in the name of the person with disabilities. Persons with disabilities who are not issued the special license plates are entitled to receive a second special placard upon submitting a written request to the department. Persons who have been issued the parking privileges and who are using a vehicle or are riding in a vehicle displaying the placard or special license plates issued under this section or *RCW 46.16.385 may park in places reserved for persons with physical disabilities. The director shall adopt rules providing for the issuance of special placards and license plates to public transportation authorities, nursing homes licensed under chapter 18.51 RCW, boarding homes licensed under chapter 18.20 RCW, senior citizen centers, private nonprofit agencies as defined in chapter 24.03 RCW, and vehicles registered with the department as cabulances that regularly transport persons with disabilities who have been determined eligible for special parking privileges provided under this section. The director may issue special license plates for a vehicle registered in the name of the public transportation authority, nursing home, boarding home, senior citizen center, private nonprofit agency, or cabulance service if the vehicle is primarily used to transport persons with disabilities described in this section. Public transportation authorities, nursing homes, boarding homes, senior citizen centers, private nonprofit agencies, and cabulance services are responsible for insuring that the special placards and license plates are not used improperly and are responsible for all fines and penalties for improper use.
(4) Whenever the person with disabilities transfers or assigns his or her interest in the vehicle, the special license plates shall be removed from the motor vehicle. If another vehicle is acquired by the person with disabilities and the vehicle owner qualifies for a special plate, the plate shall be attached to the vehicle, and the director shall be immediately notified of the transfer of the plate. If another vehicle is not acquired by the person with disabilities, the removed plate shall be immediately surrendered to the director.
(5) The special license plate shall be renewed in the same manner and at the time required for the renewal of regular motor vehicle license plates under this chapter. No special license plate may be issued to a person who is temporarily disabled. A person who has a condition expected to improve within six months may be issued a temporary placard for a period not to exceed six months. If the condition exists after six months a new temporary placard shall be issued upon receipt of a new certification from the person's physician. The permanent parking placard and identification card of a person with disabilities shall be renewed at least every five years, as required by the director, by satisfactory proof of the right to continued use of the privileges. In the event of the permit holder's death, the parking placard and identification card must be immediately surrendered to the department. The department shall match and purge its database of parking permits issued to persons with disabilities with available death record information at least every twelve months.
(6) Additional fees shall not be charged for the issuance of the special placards or the identification cards. No additional fee may be charged for the issuance of the special license plates except the regular motor vehicle registration fee and any other fees and taxes required to be paid upon registration of a motor vehicle.
(7) Any unauthorized use of the special placard, special license plate issued under this section or *RCW 46.16.385, or identification card is a parking infraction with a monetary penalty of two hundred fifty dollars. In addition to any penalty or fine imposed under this subsection, two hundred dollars shall be assessed.
(8) It is a parking infraction, with a monetary penalty of two hundred fifty dollars for a person to park in, block, or otherwise make inaccessible the access aisle located next to a space reserved for persons with physical disabilities. In addition to any penalty or fine imposed under this subsection, two hundred dollars shall be assessed. The clerk of the court shall report all violations related to this subsection to the department.
(9) It is a parking infraction, with a monetary penalty of two hundred fifty dollars for any person to park a vehicle in a parking place provided on private property without charge or on public property reserved for persons with physical disabilities without a placard or special license plate issued under this section or *RCW 46.16.385. In addition to any penalty or fine imposed under this subsection, two hundred dollars shall be assessed. If a person is charged with a violation, the person shall not be determined to have committed an infraction if the person produces in court or before the court appearance the placard or special license plate issued under this section or *RCW 46.16.385 required under this section. A local jurisdiction providing nonmetered, on-street parking places reserved for persons with physical disabilities may impose by ordinance time restrictions of no less than four hours on the use of these parking places. A local jurisdiction may impose by ordinance time restrictions of no less than four hours on the use of nonreserved, on-street parking spaces by vehicles displaying the special parking placards or special license plates issued under this section or *RCW 46.16.385. All time restrictions must be clearly posted.
(10)(a) The assessment imposed under subsections (7), (8), and (9) of this section shall be allocated as follows:
(i) One hundred dollars shall be deposited in the accessible communities account created in RCW 50.40.071; and
(ii) One hundred dollars shall be deposited in the multimodal transportation account under RCW 47.66.070 for the sole purpose of supplementing a grant program for special needs transportation provided by transit agencies and nonprofit providers of transportation that is administered by the department of transportation.
(b) Any reduction in any penalty or fine and assessment imposed under subsections (7), (8), and (9) of this section shall be applied proportionally between the penalty or fine and the assessment. When a reduced penalty is imposed under subsection (7), (8), or (9) of this section, the amount deposited in the accounts identified in (a) of this subsection shall be reduced equally and proportionally.
(c) The penalty or fine amounts shall be used by that local jurisdiction exclusively for law enforcement. The court may also impose an additional penalty sufficient to reimburse the local jurisdiction for any costs it may have incurred in removal and storage of the improperly parked vehicle.
(11) Except as provided by subsection (2) of this section, it is a traffic infraction with a monetary penalty of two hundred fifty dollars for any person willfully to obtain a special license plate issued under this section or *RCW 46.16.385, placard, or identification card in a manner other than that established under this section.
(12)(a) A law enforcement agency authorized to enforce parking laws may appoint volunteers, with a limited commission, to issue notices of infractions for violations of this section or RCW 46.61.581. Volunteers must be at least twenty-one years of age. The law enforcement agency appointing volunteers may establish any other qualifications the agency deems desirable.
(b) An agency appointing volunteers under this section must provide training to the volunteers before authorizing them to issue notices of infractions.
(c) A notice of infraction issued by a volunteer appointed under this subsection has the same force and effect as a notice of infraction issued by a police officer for the same offense.
(d) A police officer or a volunteer may request a person to show the person's identification card or special parking placard when investigating the possibility of a violation of this section. If the request is refused, the person in charge of the vehicle may be issued a notice of infraction for a violation of this section.
(13) For second or subsequent violations of this section, in addition to a monetary fine, the violator must complete a minimum of forty hours of:
(a) Community restitution for a nonprofit organization that serves persons having disabilities or disabling diseases; or
(b) Any other community restitution that may sensitize the violator to the needs and obstacles faced by persons who have disabilities.
(14) The court may not suspend more than one-half of any fine imposed under subsection (7), (8), (9), or (11) of this section.
(15) For the purposes of this section, "legally blind" means a person who: (a) Has no vision or whose vision with corrective lenses is so limited that the individual requires alternative methods or skills to do efficiently those things that are ordinarily done with sight by individuals with normal vision; or (b) has an eye condition of a progressive nature which may lead to blindness.
[2010 c 215 § 6. Prior: 2007 c 262 § 1; 2007 c 44 § 1; 2006 c 357 § 2; 2005 c 390 § 2; 2004 c 222 § 2; 2003 c 371 § 1; 2002 c 175 § 33; 2001 c 67 § 1; 1999 c 136 § 1; 1998 c 294 § 1; 1995 c 384 § 1; 1994 c 194 § 6; 1993 c 106 § 1; 1992 c 148 § 1; 1991 c 339 § 21; 1990 c 24 § 1; 1986 c 96 § 1; 1984 c 154 § 2.]
*Reviser's note: RCW 46.16.385 was repealed by 2010 c 161 § 438, effective July 1, 2011.
Findings -- 2010 c 215: See note following RCW 50.40.071.
Findings -- 2006 c 357: "The legislature reaffirms its recognition that legal blindness does not affect the physical ability to walk, nor does it limit the ability to participate and contribute in employment and all aspects of life as an equal and productive citizen. Furthermore, for a legally blind individual with appropriate training in travel skills, any limitations on that individual's mobility are not resolved by the granting of special parking privileges. However, for some individuals, including the newly blind and those in transition, the availability of special parking privileges could prove to be an appropriate benefit if those individuals choose to avail themselves of the opportunity." [2006 c 357 § 1.]
Effective date -- 2004 c 222 §§ 1 and 2: See note following RCW 46.16.385.
Effective date -- 2002 c 175: See note following RCW 7.80.130.
Intent -- 1984 c 154: "The legislature intends to extend special parking privileges to persons with disabilities that substantially impair mobility." [1984 c 154 § 1.]
Application -- 1984 c 154: "This act applies to special license plates, cards, or decals issued after June 7, 1984. Nothing in this act invalidates special license plates, cards, or decals issued before June 7, 1984." [1984 c 154 § 9.]
Severability -- 1984 c 154: "If any provision of this act or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the act or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances is not affected." [1984 c 154 § 10.]
Accessible parking spaces required: RCW 70.92.140.
Free parking by individuals with disabilities: RCW 46.61.582.
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