A Handy Primer to Handicapped Parking in L.A.


As we discovered in a recent L.A. Times article, it’s not easy to report handicapped parking fraud. Not surprisingly, the DMV doesn’t offer a very user-friendly way to narc on drivers who you believe are not actually disabled; you can call the department’s general phone number (1-800-777-0133) or file a complaint digitally, or at one of the department’s investigative offices.

So, what else is there to know about handicapped parking? Lots:

  • Drivers with handicapped placards can park along green curbs for an unlimited amount of time
  • Disabled drivers can also park at spots designated for merchants or residents
  • Handicapped drivers don’t have to pay the meter—ever
  • Red, yellow, and white curbs are off-limits to handicapped drivers
  • Those with permanent disabilities can obtain handicapped permits that last as long as they have a driver’s license
  • Permanent placards are free, while temporary placards (which last six months) are a whopping $6
  • The government requires specific minimums of handicapped parking at all garages and parking lots. It factors out to about one of out every six parking spots must be handicapped-accessible.
  • Medical facilities need to set aside 10 percent of parking for disabled drivers or vehicles
  • The California DMV issued 2.1 million handicapped placards in 2011
  • In L.A., there are at least six times as many residents with disabled parking privileges as there are parking meters
  • The LADOT wrote 11 tickets for placard abuse in 2010
  • The citation for placard abuse, like using someone else’s sign, starts at $250 and runs up to $1,000
  • The ticket for forging a placard starts at $500 and tops out at $1,000