Ask Amy: New Texas law about disabled veteran parking

A new law related to handicap parking is causing confusion and left one KPRC 2 viewer getting towed.

(Copyright 2021 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

What you need to know about the new law about Texas veteran license plates

U.S. Army veteran Robert called to tell us he had his truck towed from a handicapped parking spot, learning the hard way about a new law changing disabled vet license plate rules. Robert says after he got towed, he asked around and none of his veteran friends knew about the new law either. That’s when he decided to give KPRC 2 Investigator Amy Davis a call.

(Copyright 2021 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

“Veterans are getting their vehicles towed because they don’t know about this new law. Please help get the word out, " said Robert.

Here’s the best information we found about this new law: Senate Bill 792 went into effect on January 1st. It requires anyone parked in a handicapped spot to either have a disabled parking placard or gets a new disabled vet plate with the international access symbol on it.

Previously, veterans could use their disabled vet license plate to park in those reserved spots.

The law is supported by groups like Disabled American Veterans.

“The legislature was trying to create parking availability for those that needed the handicapped parking,” said Roland Luna, Vehicle Titles and Registration Division Director for Texas DMV. “A person that is that is wanting to obtain a placard or a DV plate with an ESA symbol on it can go to their tax assessor-collector, where they are resident, or they can go to the county of their attending physician, they need to complete the form.”

Texas veterans with current placards remain valid, however, the new requirements must be met at the time of renewal. You can find your local tax office here, or download the forms from the DMV website.

How do I qualify for a disabled veteran parking placard?

Luna says the state started a campaign last year to get the word out. Governor Abbott’s office sent out information about this last year. In part, the state explains eligibility for disabled parking placards or license plates with the International Symbol of Access.

Here’s more information from the state website: Placard and plate eligibility is based on a medical condition that meets the legal definition of a disability. “Disability” means 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 substantially impair a person’s ability to move around.

A parking placard or plate with the international access symbol is only valid when being used by the person with the disability or someone who is driving the person with the disability. People who misuse disabled parking placards are subject to fines of up to $1,250 and/or up to 50 hours of community service.

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Passionate consumer advocate, mom of 3, addicted to coffee, hairspray and pastries.

Award-winning TV producer and content creator. My goal as a journalist is to help people. Faith and family motivate me. Running keeps me sane.