Disabled parking permit

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A sign requesting permits be displayed for a disabled parking place in Canberra, Australia.

A disabled parking permit, also known as a disabled badge, disabled placard, handicapped permit, handicapped placard, handicapped tag, and "Blue Badge" in the European Union, is a permit that is displayed upon parking a vehicle. It gives the operator of a vehicle permission to special privileges regarding the parking of that vehicle. These privileges include parking in a space reserved for persons with disabilities, or, in some situations, permission to park in a time-limited space for a longer time, or to park at a meter without payment.

Reciprocal recognition[edit]

Member Countries of the International Transport Forum, an inter-governmental organisation within the OECD, would from 1978 grant the same parking concessions to people with disabilities as they offered their own nationals.

The Resolution was updated and extended in 1997 by "Resolution no. 97/4 on Reciprocal Recognition of Parking Badges for Persons with Mobility Handicaps", and now applies to ITF member states as well as Associated Countries. The condition is the display of a badge showing the international wheelchair symbol.[1]

The International Transport Forum was called the European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) between 1953 and 2007.


United States[edit]

Accessible parking space at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill

In the United States, reserved spaces are mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines.[2] Disabled parking permits generally take the form of either specially marked license plates or a placard that hangs from the rear-view mirror. Plates are generally used for disabled drivers on their personal vehicle, while the portable disability placard can be moved from one vehicle to another with the disabled person, both when driving or when riding with another driver.

The medical requirements to obtain a permit vary by state, but are usually confined to specific types of disabilities or conditions. These as a general rule include the use of any assistive device such as a wheelchair, crutches, or cane, as well as a missing leg or foot. Some states also include certain cardiovascular, pain, or respiratory conditions. About half of US states (26) include blindness as a qualifying disability enabling the person to obtain a disability parking permit for use as a passenger, and 14 states include a disabled hand as a qualifying disability. Four states include deafness (Georgia, Kentucky, Virginia, Wyoming), and two states (Virginia and New York) include mental illness or developmental disabilities as qualifying disabilities.[3][4]


European Union / European Economic Area[edit]

Disabled parking permit issued in Luxembourg, in the common EU format

In the European Union (EU), a disabled parking permit allows partial or total exemption from charges or penalties associated with the parking of a motor vehicle used by a badge-holder, and shows entitlement to use of dedicated parking bays and off-street parking (where they are provided). The concession extends in some places to partial or total exemption from tolls or general prohibitions on where a vehicle can be driven. Council recommendation 98/376/EC[5] recommended that member states issue parking permits adhering to the standardised Community model, and that the permit should be recognized in other member states. The recommendation has since been amended by Council recommendation 2008/205/EC.[6] The recommendations are extended to the European Economic Area (EEA) through incorporation into the EEA Agreement.[7]

Disabled parking place in Tomaszów Mazowiecki, Poland

Since 2000, all general disabled parking permits in the EU have been standardised to a common style and blue colour, leading to the officially-used designation "Blue Badge".[8][9] A Blue Badge issued in one country of the EU is generally given equal recognition in others with various exceptions as described for the countries below.

The privileges vary by area, but some include parking in no parking zones, extended time limit on time-limited parking areas, waived parking fees, and using pedestrian areas in urgent situations.[10]

United Kingdom[edit]

In the United Kingdom, this scheme of permits was originally introduced (using Orange Badges) by the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970. Badges are issued as a right if a person meets certain statutory requirements, most of which are associated with actually being in receipt of certain disability benefits from the national Social Security system; additionally, a local authority can make concessionary issues of badges to persons who have a permanent disability which does not fall directly within the more rigid statutory requirements but which seriously impairs their mobility.

A UK "Blue Badge" Disabled Parking Permit in a custom permit holder for motorcycles, beside the license plate.
General exceptions

The Great Britain Blue Badge scheme does not apply to parking away from public roads and local authority car parks, with the general concessions often not recognised at ports, airports and railway stations unless the operators have provided voluntary parking privileges.

Parking Maps

Until 2010 Directgov provided a service that covers country wide customised maps for Blue Badge Holders with different base colours reflecting councils policies on Blue Badge Holder's parking.[11] In addition to council policies this service also pin pointed the location of different features specific to disabled community. There are a few dedicated Blue Badge sat-navs available, mainly from the specialist sat-nav company Navevo. See BBNav publicity for a likely list of integral features.

Since the cessation of the directgov service maps have been provided by online services such as the crowd-sourced BlueBadgeParking.com which also provides free Sat-nav downloads.


Abuse of Blue Badges in the UK can incur fines of up to £1,000. As of 2016, the Department for Transport found that 61 out of 152 authorities did not have a policy about prosecuting drivers fraudulently using Blue Badges. The number of prosecuted cases from 2015 is just under 1000.[12]

England and Wales[edit]

In England and Wales, Blue Badge holders are required (unless signs show otherwise) to display a Disabled Person's Parking Disc ("Clock") showing the time the vehicle was first parked so that a time limit can be enforced. Badge holders from elsewhere in the European Union will need to obtain a Clock (obtainable from their Issuing Office in the UK) to validate their badge otherwise the vehicle will be treated as if no badge were displayed.

Local differences in parking rules

In London, the volume of traffic has led to restrictions upon the national scheme in some areas with local colour schemes used to restrict standard concessions to local residents, for example the permits are green in Camden, white in Westminster, purple in Kensington and Chelsea, and red in the City of London. In these cities and boroughs special rules and parking spaces are provided for Blue Badge holders.

Similar local schemes operate in other large towns or cities in the UK, for example Norwich operates a 'green badge scheme'.

Northern Ireland[edit]

The standard scheme only generally applies to on-street parking and is outlined on the Roads Service Northern Ireland website.[13] A "White Badge" is required for access to Pedestrian Zones.


In Scotland, a local authority Parking Attendant (in addition to police and traffic wardens) has the power to inspect a Blue Badge; failure to allow this inspection is an offence. There are also proposals to extend the issue of badges to small children and a wider range of (temporarily or permanently) disabled people.



In Australia, disabled parking permits are provided under the Australian Disability Parking Scheme,[14] which was established in September 2010 to harmonise disability permits across Australia.[15] Disabled parking permits are applied for through state and territory organisations, and rules for eligibility differ among jurisdictions.[14] If someone else parks in a disabled zone, they will be fined by either police or the council.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Marian (12 July 2017). "Reciprocal Recognition of Parking Badges". ITF. Retrieved 6 February 2020.
  2. ^ "4.6 Parking and Passenger Loading Zones". ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities (ADAAG). United States Access Board. Retrieved 14 December 2016.
  3. ^ "Disabled Parking Placards or License Plates Application" (PDF). Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. Retrieved 19 December 2009.
  4. ^ "Application for a Parking Permit or License Plates, for Persons with Severe Disabilities" (PDF). New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. Retrieved 19 December 2009.
  5. ^ "EUR-Lex - 31998H0376 - EN - EUR-Lex". eur-lex.europa.eu. Retrieved 19 January 2021.
  6. ^ "EUR-Lex - 32008H0205 - EN - EUR-Lex". eur-lex.europa.eu. Archived from the original on 20 January 2022. Retrieved 19 January 2021.
  7. ^ Decision of the EEA Joint Committee No 112/98 of 27 November 1998 amending Annex XIII (transport) to the EEA Agreement, 28 October 1999, retrieved 19 January 2021
  8. ^ "Neuer Parkausweis für Behinderte (English: New parking card for disabled". FAHRLEHRERVERBAND Baden-Württemberg e.V. Retrieved 29 April 2010.
  9. ^ "Parking card for people with disabilities in the European Union: conditions in the member states" (PDF). European Commission. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 November 2009. Retrieved 29 April 2010.
  10. ^ "Parking card for people with disabilities in the European Union: conditions in the Member States" (PDF). ec.europa.eu. Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  11. ^ "Directgov Blue Badge map". Directgov. Archived from the original on 18 April 2010. Retrieved 19 December 2009.
  12. ^ Sawer, Patrick (31 December 2016). "Able-bodied motorists 'getting away' with disabled parking fraud". The Telegraph. Retrieved 13 February 2017.
  13. ^ "Disabled Persons Badge Scheme for Northern Ireland". Roads Service Northern Ireland. Archived from the original on 3 January 2010. Retrieved 19 December 2009.
  14. ^ a b "Australian Disability Parking Scheme". Government of Australia. Retrieved 18 September 2018.
  15. ^ "Mobility Parking Scheme". Roads and Maritime Services. Retrieved 10 November 2012.

External links[edit]