You Take My Space, I Take Your Air: An Empirical Study of Disabled Parking and Motor Vehicle Laws for Persons with Disabilities

49 Pages Posted: 23 Feb 2009

See all articles by Donald H. Stone

Donald H. Stone

University of Baltimore - School of Law

Date Written: 2007


Reserved parking and specialized treatment are necessary to permit individuals with disabilities access to goods, services, and employment opportunities on an equal basis with the general public. Why are disabled drivers entitled to disabled parking spots? What is the procedure for an individual with a disability to receive special disability registration license plates? What is the role of the Medical Advisory Board in reviewing the ability of disabled drivers to get behind the wheel? What, if any, obligation or responsibility does a physician treating a disabled driver have to notify the Department of Motor Vehicles of the patient's condition or to third parties injured by a disabled driver?

Does the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ("ADA"), a landmark civil rights act protecting an individual with a physical or mental impairment, require the removal of architectural barriers to create designated accessible parking spaces at places of public accommodation? Does the ADA require that restaurants, grocery stores, law offices, and laundromats provide designated parking for individuals with disabilities?

Empirical data provided in this article is submitted to serve as a backdrop for elaboration and comparison. Fifty places of public accommodation were surveyed to identify and determine compliance with the provision of accessible parking spaces for disabled drivers in a variety of locations in Maryland.

A review of a variety of state motor vehicle statutes are compared and analyzed, ranging from the enumerated covered disabilities, the physician certification process, the provision of placards and disability plates, parking space requirements fees, parking privileges, and enforcement provisions.

This article will discuss and analyze various court decisions concerning reasonable accommodations for drivers with disabilities. It will provide insight and understanding of the impact of the ADA and the direction courts are heading as they confront this challenging and important area of the law. Finally, this article will offer recommendations regarding accessible parking and Medical Advisory for the disabled driver.

Keywords: motor vehicle laws, persons with disabilities, Americans with Disabilities Act, disabled drivers

JEL Classification: K19, K39, R41

Suggested Citation

Stone, Donald H., You Take My Space, I Take Your Air: An Empirical Study of Disabled Parking and Motor Vehicle Laws for Persons with Disabilities (2007). Ohio Northern University Law Review, Vol. 33, p. 665, 2007, Available at SSRN:

Donald H. Stone (Contact Author)

University of Baltimore - School of Law ( email )

1420 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21218
United States

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