Pennsylvania Laws on Handicap Parking Signs

By Eileen Faust
In Pennsylvania, you must display a handicap placard or use a handicap license plate to park your vehicle in a handicap parking space.

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The Americans with Disabilities Act and state laws require parking spaces to be set aside for drivers and passengers with temporary or permanent disabilities. The ADA determines many of the parking rules while others are determined and maintained by the state and local municipalities.

Where Signs Can Be Used

Handicap parking signs can be used for the following areas: parking spots reserved for those with disabilities and passenger loading zones accessible to the disabled.

Van Accessibility

At least one space out of every eight designated for handicap parking must be designated van accessible and noted with an additional sign. This sign must be mounted below the handicap parking sign and in a manner that allows it to be seen despite a vehicle being parked in the space.

Visibility

Signs designating a handicap accessible parking space must be at the correct height so as to be visible to the driver of a vehicle when parked in the space or passing by. All handicap signs must be placed below other reserved parking signs.

Location

The signs must be located in front of the parking space, according to the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Personal Handicap Parking

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, only municipalities can designate a private handicap parking space in front of a residence. This sign may not always be placed directly in front of a disabled person's home, but municipal authorities will place it as close as possible without creating traffic issues.

Fines

According to state law, if a handicap accessible parking sign is missing notice about the amount of fines for violations, it does not prevent the issuance of a fine. Private parking spaces must have handicap parking signs listing fines to be levied by violators.

Towing

A handicap parking sign must indicate that a vehicle in violation of the law will be towed; otherwise it is not legal to tow the vehicle.

Sign Replacement

Pennsylvania Code requires that any handicap parking sign in a private parking lot must be replaced "as rapidly as feasible" if it is damaged, disappears or becomes obsolete. The cost of replacement must be covered by the owner of the parking lot.

Sign Appearance

The shape, size and color of official traffic signs such as handicap parking signs must meet the requirements of the Pennsylvania Code. These signs can be of two sizes, according to the Pennsylvania Sign Index Nomenclature: 30 inches by 30 inches or 36 inches by 36 inches. Signs smaller or larger than the official sizes must be approved by the state Department of Transportation. All signs must be reflective if they lack illumination.

Sign Manufacture

All traffic and parking signs must be manufactured by a state Department of Transportation approved sign manufacturer.

About the Author

Eileen Faust began her career in journalism in 1999 and has worked as an editor for Greater Media Newspapers and the "Pottstown Mercury." She was a member of "The Mercury" editorial team awarded second-place for promotional community service by Suburban Newspapers of America for coverage of the local Relay for Life. Faust received a Bachelor of Arts in writing from Rider University in 1998.

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