Here's what you need to know before parking in a handicap spot

Traffic safety expert Trooper Steve Montiero answers viewer questions

ORLANDO, Fla. – News 6 traffic safety expert Trooper Steve Montiero answers viewer questions about the rules of the road every week, helping Orlando-area residents become better drivers by being better educated.

[ASK TROOPER STEVE: Send safety question to Trooper Steve]

Monday's question had to do with parking in handicap spots.

“Can you go over the rules for handicap parking,” Shawn, of Winter Springs, asked Montiero.

Trooper Steve said there are a few things drivers should know before pulling in those spots.

"To use a Florida disability placard, first and most importantly, it must be issued to you or a passenger in your vehicle and they must be physically present," Montiero said.

Montiero said drivers should never use someone else's tag to get a better spot.

"Using someone else’s placard and parking in a disabled parking spot without the person present can land you a huge ticket and is just simply wrong," he said.

Next, Montiero broke down how the tag should be on display in the vehicle.

The placard must be hanging from your rear view mirror with the registration decal facing outward so that it can be seen," he said.

Placing the placard on your dashboard is not an acceptable practice and can earn you a ticket, according to Montiero.

He said drivers should be sure they're not abusing the system, since the tag is meant to offer more convenience for those who need it. Those with tags issued to them should not park in places designated for other types of vehicles.

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"Parking legally is the key here. You’re being granted special parking, so don’t abuse the situation," Montiero said. "Your placard does not grant you parking in zones for buses or emergency vehicles, striped areas next to disabled parking spaces, no parking areas or limited time spaces like loading or taxi zones."

Montiero said having a placard does allow drivers with handicap tags to park another type of spot, though.

"Something most people don’t know -- drivers with a valid handicap placard can park in metered parking spaces for up to 4 hours for free," Montiero said.

He said some cities will actually grant longer parking and recommends that anyone traveling reach out to local authorities to see if they can get more time to park in those spaces.

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