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Searching 2021-2022 Session

The Vermont Statutes Online

 

Title 23 : Motor Vehicles

Chapter 007 : REGISTRATION

Subchapter 001 : General Registration

(Cite as: 23 V.S.A. § 304a)
  • § 304a. Special registration plates and placards for individuals with disabilities

    (a) As used in this section:

    (1) "Ambulatory disability" means an impairment that prevents or impedes walking. An individual shall be considered to have an ambulatory disability if he or she:

    (A) cannot walk 200 feet without stopping to rest;

    (B) cannot walk without the use of, or assistance from, a brace, cane, crutch, another individual, prosthetic device, wheelchair, or other assistive device;

    (C) is restricted by lung disease to such an extent that the individual's forced (respiratory) expiratory volume for one second, when measured by spirometry, is less than one liter, or the arterial oxygen tension is less than 60 mm/hg on room air at rest;

    (D) uses portable oxygen;

    (E) has a cardiac condition to the extent that the individual's functional limitations are classified in severity as Class III or Class IV according to standards set by the American Heart Association; or

    (F) is severely limited in his or her ability to walk due to an arthritic, neurological, or orthopedic condition.

    (2) "Blind" means the visual impairment of an individual whose central visual acuity does not exceed 20/200 in the better eye with corrective lenses or whose visual acuity, if better than 20/200, is accompanied by a limit to the field of vision in the better eye to such a degree that its widest diameter subtends an angle of no greater than 20 degrees.

    (3) "Special registration plates" means a registration plate for individuals with disabilities that displays the International Symbol of Access:

    (A) in a color that contrasts with the background; and

    (B) in the same size as the letters or numbers on the plate.

    (4) "Removable windshield placard" means a two-sided, hanger style placard which includes on each side:

    (A) the International Symbol of Access, which is at least three inches in height, centered on the placard, and is a color that contrasts with the placard's background color;

    (B) an identification number;

    (C) a date of expiration; and

    (D) the seal or other identification of the issuing authority.

    (5) "Temporary removable windshield placard" means a two-sided hanger style placard which includes on each side:

    (A) the International Symbol of Access, which is at least three inches in height, centered on the placard, and is a color that contrasts with the placard's background color;

    (B) an identification number;

    (C) a date of expiration; and

    (D) the seal or other identification of the issuing authority.

    (6) "Eligible person" means:

    (A) an individual who is blind or has an ambulatory disability and has been issued a special registration plate or a windshield placard by this State or another state;

    (B) a person who is transporting an individual described in subdivision (A) of this subdivision (6); or

    (C) an individual transporting an individual who is blind or has an ambulatory disability on behalf of an organization that has been issued a special registration plate or a windshield placard by this State or another state for the purpose of transporting an individual who is blind or has an ambulatory disability.

    (b) Special registration plates or removable windshield placards, or both, shall be issued by the Commissioner. The placard shall be issued without a fee to an individual who is blind or has an ambulatory disability. One set of plates shall be issued without additional fees for a vehicle registered or leased to an individual who is blind or has an ambulatory disability or to a parent or guardian of an individual with a permanent disability. The Commissioner shall issue these placards or plates under rules adopted by him or her after proper application has been made to the Commissioner by any person residing within the State. Application forms shall be available on request at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

    (1) Upon application for a special registration plate or removable windshield placard, the Commissioner shall send a form prescribed by him or her to the applicant to be signed and returned by a licensed physician, licensed physician assistant, or licensed advanced practice registered nurse. The Commissioner shall file the form for future reference and issue the placard or plate. A new application shall be submitted every four years in the case of placards and at every third registration renewal for plates but in no case greater than every four years. When a licensed physician, licensed physician assistant, or licensed advanced practice registered nurse has previously certified to the Commissioner that an applicant's condition is both permanent and stable, a special registration plate or placard need not be renewed.

    (2) Upon application of an organization, the Commissioner shall issue special registration plates for a vehicle registered in the applicant's name if the vehicle is primarily used to transport individuals who have an ambulatory disability or are blind. Placards shall also be issued without a fee, upon application in a form prescribed by the Commissioner, to an organization to be used when transporting individuals who have an ambulatory disability or are blind. The plates and placards shall be subject to the restrictions set forth in subdivision (a)(3) of this section.

    (3) An individual with a disability who abuses such privileges or allows individuals not disabled to abuse the privileges provided in this section may have this privilege revoked after suitable notice and opportunity for hearing has been given him or her by the Commissioner. Hearings under the provisions of this section shall be held in accordance with sections 105-107 of this title and shall be subject to review by the Civil Division of the Superior Court of the county where the individual with a disability resides.

    (4) An applicant for a registration plate or placard for individuals with disabilities may request the Civil Division of the Superior Court in the county in which he or she resides to review a decision by the Commissioner to deny his or her application for a special registration plate or placard.

    (5) If the authenticity of the medical need for the special registration is challenged with reasons in writing, the Commissioner may have physicians with the Vermont Department of Health review the medical facts, with the knowledge of the individual with a disability and the licensed physician, licensed physician assistant, or licensed advanced practice registered nurse who filled in the medical form for the special registration, in order to determine eligibility and so notify all concerned of the facts and the recommendations.

    (6) On a form prescribed by the Commissioner, a nonprofit organization that provides volunteer drivers to transport individuals who have an ambulatory disability or are blind may apply to the Commissioner for a placard. Placards shall be marked "volunteer driver." The organization shall ensure proper use of placards and maintain an accurate and complete record of the volunteer drivers to whom the placards are given by the organization. Placards shall be returned to the organization when the volunteer driver is no longer performing that service. Abuse of the privileges provided by the placards may result in the privileges being revoked and the placards repossessed by the Commissioner. Revocation may occur only after suitable notice and opportunity for a hearing. Hearings shall be held in accordance with sections 105-107 of this title.

    (c) Eligible persons may park vehicles with special registration plates or removable windshield placards issued by any state in special parking spaces when:

    (1) the placard is displayed:

    (A) by hanging it from the front windshield rearview mirror in such a manner that it may be viewed from the front and rear of the vehicle; or

    (B) if the vehicle has no rearview mirror, on the dashboard;

    (2) the plate is mounted as provided in section 511 of this title; or

    (3) the plate is mounted or the placard displayed as provided by the law of the jurisdiction where the vehicle is registered.

    (d)(1) Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, an eligible person shall be permitted to park, and to park without fee, for at least 10 continuous days in a parking space or area that is restricted as to the length of time parking is permitted or where parking fees are assessed.

    (2) Notwithstanding the 10-day period in subdivision (1) of this subsection, in the case of a State- or municipally operated parking garage, an eligible person shall be permitted to park, and to park without fee, for at least 24 continuous hours.

    (3) This subsection shall not apply to spaces or areas in which parking, standing, or stopping of all vehicles is prohibited by law or by any parking ban or that are reserved for special vehicles. As a condition to the privilege conferred by this subsection, the vehicle shall display the registration plate or placard issued by the Commissioner, or a special registration license plate or placard issued by any other jurisdiction, in accordance with subsection (c) of this section.

    (e)(1) An individual, other than an eligible person, who for his or her own purposes parks a vehicle in a space for individuals with disabilities shall be subject to a civil penalty of not less than $200.00 for each violation and shall be liable for towing charges.

    (2) An individual, other than an eligible person, who displays a special registration plate or removable windshield placard not issued to him or her under this section and parks a vehicle in a space for individuals with disabilities, shall be subject to a civil penalty of not less than $400.00 for each violation and shall be liable for towing charges.

    (3) A person who violates this section also shall be liable for storage charges not to exceed $12.00 per day, and an artisan's lien may be imposed against the vehicle for payment of the charges assessed.

    (4) The person in charge of the parking space or spaces for individuals with a disability or any duly authorized law enforcement officer shall cause the removal of a vehicle parked in violation of this section.

    (5) A violation of this section shall be considered a traffic violation within the meaning of 4 V.S.A. chapter 29.

    (f) Individuals who have a temporary ambulatory disability may apply for a temporary removable windshield placard to the Commissioner on a form prescribed by him or her. The placard shall be valid for a period of up to six months and displayed as required under the provisions of subsection (c) of this section. The application shall be signed by a licensed physician, licensed physician assistant, or licensed advanced practice registered nurse. The validation period of the temporary placard shall be established on the basis of the written recommendation from a licensed physician, licensed physician assistant, or licensed advanced practice registered nurse. The Commissioner shall adopt rules to implement the provisions of this subsection. (Added 1987, No. 268 (Adj. Sess.), § 9, eff. June 21, 1988; amended 1989, No. 51, § 12; 1989, No. 56; 1991, No. 131 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1993; 1999, No. 34, § 5; 1999, No. 155 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. May 29, 2000; 2003, No. 151 (Adj. Sess.), § 7; 2003, No. 160 (Adj. Sess.), § 60, eff. June 9, 2004; 2005, No. 188 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 2007, No. 61, § 4; 2009, No. 82 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2009, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 238; 2011, No. 62, § 39; 2013, No. 57, § 4; 2013, No. 96 (Adj. Sess.), § 142; 2015, No. 23, § 121; 2015, No. 50, § 7; 2017, No. 71, § 1; 2017, No. 132 (Adj. Sess.), § 7; 2017, No. 206 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2019, No. 131 (Adj. Sess.), § 140.)