Accessible Parking Law
New Jersey law spells out the qualifications a disabled person must meet to receive accessible parking privileges. The disabled person must meet one or more of these conditions: must have lost the use of one or more limbs due to paralysis or other permanent disability; cannot walk without the assistance of a mobility device, such as a crutch, cane or wheelchair; have respiratory or heart problems; have orthopedic problems and be unable to walk more than 200 feet without resting, or have permanent sight impairment in both eyes. A doctor’s certificate attesting to the disability is required as part of the application process to the New Jersey Motor Vehicles Division.
Accessible parking spaces are generally those closest to entrances of public buildings, including stores. The number of spaces allocated for accessible parking is usually limited to a small percentage of total parking spaces. New Jersey law allows municipalities to establish handicapped parking spaces in front of schools, hospitals, shopping malls and other public buildings. Municipalities can also establish accessible spaces in front of residences if parking will not hinder traffic flow.
While disabled people can park in any space if a handicapped space is not available, motorists must have disabled privileges to park in handicapped spaces. Their vehicles must have a special license plate, or people can choose a placard which can be placed in any car they are in. They must also carry a disabled-person identification card. Able-bodied motorists who park in handicapped spaces are subject to fines of $250 and may be required to do up to 90 days of community service. State law gives the police authority to enforce handicapped parking rules on both public and private property. Disabled people can ask police to remove illegally parked cars from handicapped spaces.
State law also provides that snow and ice must be removed from handicapped spaces within 48 hours or the property owner may be fined up to $500. Vehicles with disabled identification can stay in parking meter spaces up to 24 hours without paying a fine if the motorist fed the parking meter the maximum amount upon parking in that spot.