AUSTIN (KXAN) — Disabled veteran plates without the International Symbol of Access (ISA) are no longer acceptable when parking in a handicap spot.
The law has been in effect since January, but a veteran we spoke with feels there needs to be more awareness about the change that could cost you hundreds of dollars.
Mark Jordan, a retired drill sergeant, has been out of the military for nearly 10 years. Now, a recognized disabled veteran, he’s used to parking in handicapped spots. That was until early March.
“I walked out to my car one day and found a ticket on my vehicle,” Jordan said. “I thought I had parked wrong.”
He hadn’t parked wrong, technically. He just didn’t have a handicap placard or an updated ISA license plate.
“The cost of that ticket is $514,” Jordan said.
Jordan said he didn’t know about the change. He said he had to take several steps to get his new placard.
“I had to see my doctor, and my doctor had to write a prescription for me to get a placard,” Jordan said. “After the doctor gets the placard, then I had to go back down to the courthouse, show them that I have a placard and I asked for the ticket to be dismissed.”
“It’s my understanding that various veterans organizations such as the Paralyzed Veterans of America and Disabled American Veterans prompted this bill because they were concerned about the availability of parking,” a Texas DMV Representative said.
The DMV said it put out press releases about the change in August and December ahead of the law going into effect. It said staff also gave county tax offices a heads up, provided a webinar and spread the word at some regional Veteran Affairs meetings.
“Our website has a slew of information on it available to veterans and specifically disabled veterans. We’ve got the form that has been updated to make sure that the criteria to qualify for the disability is on the same application for a disabled vet plate,” the DMV representative said.
Jordan still feels like there should be more personalized outreach.
“We live by a certain amount of values…we want to follow what the law says,” Jordan said. “Just as every year I get an alert that it’s time for me to renew my plates. That’s something that can be done.”
If you’re a disabled veteran, you’ll either need to get a doctor’s note to get a handicap placard or fill out an application with your county’s Tax Assessor’s Office to get a new disabled license plate with a universal handicap symbol.
For more information on the process, click here.