California Vehicle Code Section 22511.55

CA Veh Code § 22511.55 (2017)  

(a) (1) A disabled person or disabled veteran may apply to the department for the issuance of a distinguishing placard. The placard may be used in lieu of the special license plate or plates issued under Section 5007 for parking purposes described in Section 22511.5 when (A) suspended from the rearview mirror, (B) if there is no rearview mirror, when displayed on the dashboard of a vehicle, or (C) inserted in a clip designated for a distinguishing placard and installed by the manufacturer on the driver’s side of the front window. It is the intent of the Legislature to encourage the use of distinguishing placards because they provide law enforcement officers with a more readily recognizable symbol for distinguishing vehicles qualified for the parking privilege. The placard shall be the size, shape, and color determined by the department and shall bear the International Symbol of Access adopted pursuant to Section 3 of Public Law 100-641, commonly known as the “wheelchair symbol.” The department shall incorporate instructions for the lawful use of a placard, and a summary of the penalties for the unlawful use of a placard, into the identification card issued to the placard owner.

(2) (A) The department may establish procedures for the issuance and renewal of the placards. The procedures shall include, but are not limited to, advising an applicant in writing on the application for a placard of the procedure to apply for a special license plate or plates, as described in Section 5007, and the fee exemptions established pursuant to Section 9105 and in subdivision (a) of Section 10783 of the Revenue and Taxation Code. The placards shall have a fixed expiration date of June 30 every two years. A portion of the placard shall be printed in a contrasting color that shall be changed every two years. The size and color of this contrasting portion of the placard shall be large and distinctive enough to be readily identifiable by a law enforcement officer in a passing vehicle.

(B) As used in this section, “year” means the period between the inclusive dates of July 1 through June 30.

(C) Prior to the end of each year, the department shall, for the most current three years available, compare its record of disability placards issued against the records of the Office of Vital Records of the State Department of Public Health, or its successor, and the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File, and withhold any renewal notices that otherwise would have been sent for a placardholder identified as deceased.

(D) The department shall, six years after the first issuance of a placard and every six years thereafter, send the placardholder a renewal form by mail at least 90 days prior to the June 30 expiration date of the current placard. Certification of medical disability and proof of true full name is not required for the renewal. A placardholder who wishes to renew his or her placard shall fill out the form and submit it to the department either by mail or in person prior to expiration of the current placard.

(3) Except as provided in paragraph (4), a person shall not be eligible for more than one placard at a time.

(4) Organizations and agencies involved in the transportation of disabled persons or disabled veterans may apply for a placard for each vehicle used for the purpose of transporting disabled persons or disabled veterans.

(5) The department shall require a person who applies for a placard pursuant to this section to provide proof of his or her true full name and date of birth that shall be established by submitting one of the following to the department:

(A) A copy or facsimile of the applicant’s state issued driver’s license or identification card.

(B) A copy or facsimile of the document required for an applicant for a driver’s license or identification card to establish the applicant’s true full name.

(C) An applicant unable to establish legal presence in the United States may fulfill the true full name and date of birth requirement by providing the department a copy or facsimile of the documents used to establish identity pursuant to Section 12801.9.

(b) (1) Except as provided in paragraph (4), prior to issuing an original distinguishing placard to a disabled person or disabled veteran, the department shall require the submission of a certificate, in accordance with paragraph (2), signed by the physician and surgeon, or to the extent that it does not cause a reduction in the receipt of federal aid highway funds, by a nurse practitioner, certified nurse midwife, or physician assistant, substantiating the disability, unless the applicant’s disability is readily observable and uncontested. The disability of a person who has lost, or has lost use of, one or more lower extremities or one hand, for a disabled veteran, or both hands, for a disabled person, or who has significant limitation in the use of lower extremities, may also be certified by a licensed chiropractor. The disability of a person related to the foot or ankle may be certified by a licensed podiatrist. The blindness of an applicant shall be certified by a licensed physician and surgeon who specializes in diseases of the eye or a licensed optometrist. The physician and surgeon, nurse practitioner, certified nurse midwife, physician assistant, chiropractor, or optometrist certifying the qualifying disability shall provide a full description of the illness or disability on the form submitted to the department.

(2) The physician and surgeon, nurse practitioner, certified nurse midwife, physician assistant, chiropractor, podiatrist, or optometrist who signs a certificate submitted under this subdivision shall retain information sufficient to substantiate that certificate and, upon request of the department, shall make that information available for inspection by the Medical Board of California or the appropriate regulatory board.

(3) The department shall maintain in its records all information on an applicant’s certification of permanent disability and shall make that information available to eligible law enforcement or parking control agencies upon a request pursuant to Section 22511.58.

(4) For a disabled veteran, the department shall accept, in lieu of the certificate described in paragraph (1), a certificate from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs that certifies that the applicant is a disabled veteran as described in Section 295.7.

(c) A person who is issued a distinguishing placard pursuant to subdivision (a) may apply to the department for a substitute placard without recertification of eligibility, if that placard is lost or stolen. The department shall not issue a substitute placard to a person more than four times in a two-year renewal period. A person who requires a substitute placard in excess of the four replacements authorized pursuant to this subdivision shall reapply to the department for a new placard and submit a new certificate of disability as described in subdivision (b).

(d) The distinguishing placard shall be returned to the department not later than 60 days after the death of the disabled person or disabled veteran to whom the placard was issued.

(e) The department shall print on any distinguishing placard issued on or after January 1, 2005, the maximum penalty that may be imposed for a violation of Section 4461. For purposes of this subdivision, the “maximum penalty” is the amount derived from adding all of the following:

(1) The maximum fine that may be imposed under Section 4461.

(2) The penalty required to be imposed under Section 70372 of the Government Code.

(3) The penalty required to be levied under Section 76000 of the Government Code.

(4) The penalty required to be levied under Section 1464 of the Penal Code.

(5) The surcharge required to be levied under Section 1465.7 of the Penal Code.

(6) The penalty authorized to be imposed under Section 4461.3.

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 485, Sec. 19. (SB 611) Effective January 1, 2018.)

Last modified: October 25, 2018