CHAPTER 397

FORMERLY

HOUSE BILL NO. 447

AS AMENDED BY HOUSE AMENDMENT NO. 1 AND

SENATE AMENDMENT NO. 1

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 21 AND TITLE 6 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO SPECIAL PARKING AND RELATED SERVICES FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES AND FOR PERSONS 85 OR OLDER, AND PROVIDING A SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATION TO INCREASE PUBLIC AWARENESS OF SPECIAL PARKING AND RELATED SERVICES FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES AND FOR PERSONS 85 OR OLDER.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE (Two-thirds of all members elected to each house thereof concurring therein):

Section 1. Amend §2134, Title 21 of the Delaware Code by striking §2134 in its entirety and by substituting in lieu thereof the following:

"§2134. Special license plates for persons with disabilities which limit or impair the ability to walk; parking; penalties.

(a) The owner of a vehicle registered in Delaware and described in subsection (b) of this section may apply to the Department for the issuing to the vehicle a special license plate for persons with disabilities which limit or impair the ability to walk if a licensed physician certifies that the applicant or a household member has one or more of the following disabilities that are permanent with no prognosis for improvement:

(1) cannot walk two hundred feet without stopping to rest; or

(2) cannot walk safely without the use of, or assistance from, a brace, cane, crutch, another person, prosthetic device, wheelchair, or other assistive device; or

(3) is restricted by lung disease to such an extent that the applicant's or household member's forced (respiratory) expiratory volume for one second, when measured by spirometry, is less than one liter, or the arterial oxygen tension is less than sixty mm/hg on room air at rest; or

(4) uses portable oxygen; or

(5) has a cardiac condition to the extent that the applicant's or household member's functional limitations are classified in severity as Class III or Class IV according to standards set by the American Heart Association; or

(6) is severely limited in his or her ability to walk due to an arthritic, neurological, or orthopedic condition.

(b) This section applies only to passenger cars, station wagons, pickup trucks, motorcycles, panel van trucks, and other motor vehicles that are reasonably used by persons with disabilities which limit or impair the ability to walk and that have a gross registered weight which does not exceed 14,000 lbs.

(c) A special license plate may be issued or reissued under this section only if the applicant submits proof satisfactory to the Department that the applicant or a household member has a disability that is permanent with no prognosis for improvement as described in subsection (a) (1)-(6) of this section. Satisfactory proof prior to issuance and each reissuance must include the signature of a licensed physician on a Department special license plate or placard application form on which the physician indicates the applicant's or household member's disability. Physician certification must be presented to the Department upon initial issue and each renewal of registration. The issuance of a special license plate does not preclude the issuance of one removable windshield placard pursuant to §2135 of this title.

(d) The fee for the issuance or reissuance of a special license plate may not exceed the fee charged for the issuance or reissuance of a standard license plate for the same class of vehicle.

(e) A special license plate issued pursuant to this section must display the internationally recognized wheelchair symbol of access in the same size as the numbers and/or letters on the plate.

(f) (1) A person for whom a special license plate is issued under this section, or under a similar statute of any other state or country, may park in parking spaces or zones restricted for use by persons with disabilities which limit or impair the ability to walk and in unmetered parking spaces or zones restricted as to the length of parking time permitted, furthermore, if such a parking space is assigned to a specific person with a disability as that person's residential or business parking space, that person may use the space without any time restriction.

(2) A person who is driving a vehicle with a special license plate issued under this section, or under a similar statute of any other state or country, may not park:

a. in a space or zone where stopping, standing, or parking is prohibited to all vehicles; or

b. in a space or zone which is reserved for other special types of vehicles; or

c. in a space or zone assigned to another person for the other person's residential or business use; or

d. where a local ordinance prohibits parking during heavy traffic periods in morning, afternoon, or evening rush hours; or

e. where parking clearly would present a traffic hazard.

(3) The person for whom a special license plate is issued under this section, or under a similar statute of any other state or country, must be the driver of or a passenger in the vehicle bearing the special plate whenever the vehicle parks in a parking space or zone restricted for use only by vehicles with a special license plate or placard for persons with disabilities which limit or impair the ability to walk.

(g) (1) A person who intentionally presents false information to a licensed physician or to the Department in an attempt to obtain a special license plate under this section shall, for the first offense, receive a mandatory fine of $100. For each subsequent like offense, the person shall receive a mandatory fine of $200 or be imprisoned for not less than 10 nor more than 30 days, or both. Any other violation of this section is an unclassified misdemeanor. Justices of the Peace have jurisdiction over violations of this section.

(2) A summons may be attached to an unattended vehicle found in violation of any of the provisions of this section by any police officer or State Police Academy cadet authorized to issue a summons for a violation of this section. It is prima facie evidence that the person in whose name the unattended vehicle is registered is responsible for the violation.

(h) The Department may adopt rules and regulations that are reasonable or necessary for the implementation of this section.".

Section 2. Amend §2135, Title 21 of the Delaware Code by striking §2135 in its entirety and by substituting in lieu thereof the following:

"§2135. Parking permits for persons with disabilities which limit or impair the ability to walk; parking; penalties.

(a) A person or a member of the person's household who has a disability that is permanent with no prognosis for improvement as described in §2134(a)(1)-(6) of this title, or who has a physical disability which is not permanent, but which substantially limits or impairs the person's or household member's ability to walk for no less than 5 weeks and which is so severe that the person or household member would endure a hardship or be subject to a risk of injury without a temporary parking permit for persons with disabilities, or a person who is age 85 or older, whether or not he or she has a disability, or an organization that regularly in its course of business transports persons with disabilities may apply to the Department for a permanent or temporary parking permit, whichever is appropriate, on a form provided by the Department. The form must state: (1) that a permanent permit for a person with a disability, or for a person 85 or older, or for an organization that regularly in its course of business transports persons with disabilities expires after 3 years and a temporary permit for a person with a disability may not exceed 90 days; (2) that a licensed physician must certify a disability and indicate whether the applicant or household member needs a permanent parking permit or a temporary parking permit; (3) that an applicant 85 or older need only submit proof of age that is satisfactory to the Department; and (4) the possible penalties for intentionally and falsely representing that an applicant or household member is qualified to obtain a permanent or temporary parking permit. An applicant or a household member who is eligible for a special license plate pursuant to §2134 of this title may also apply for one permanent parking permit under this section. A parking permit is issued in the form of a removable placard capable of hanging from or being attached to the front windshield rearview mirror of a vehicle.

(b) A permanent or temporary parking permit may be issued under this section only if the applicant submits proof satisfactory to the Department that the applicant or household member has a disability that is permanent with no prognosis for improvement as described in §2134(a)(1)-(6) of this title, or that the applicant or household member has a physical disability which is not permanent, but which substantially limits or impairs the applicant's or household member's ability to walk for no less than 5 weeks and which is so severe that the applicant or household member would endure a hardship or be subject to a risk of injury without a temporary parking permit for persons with disabilities, or that the applicant or household member is 85 or older, or that the applicant is an organization that regularly in its course of business transports persons with disabilities. Satisfactory proof of a disability must include the signature of a licensed physician on a Department special license plate or placard application form on which the physician indicates the applicant's or household member's disability.

(c) The Department may not charge a fee for issuing or reissuing a parking placard. However, the Department shall charge a fee to offset the actual replacement cost of replacing a lost or damaged placard.

(d) (1) A permanent permit issued under this section for a person who has a disability stated in §2134(a) of this title, or for a person 85 or older, or to an organization that regularly in its course of business transports persons with disabilities expires 3 years from the date of issue. However, another permanent permit may be issued upon reapplication.

(2) A temporary permit issued under this section for an applicant who has a physical disability which is not permanent, but which substantially limits or impairs the person's ability to walk for no less than 5 weeks, and which is so severe that the person would endure a hardship or be subject to a risk of injury without a temporary parking permit for persons with disabilities, expires at the discretion of the Department, but may not exceed 90 days from the date of issue. However, another temporary permit may be issued upon reapplication.

(3) There is no limit to the number of times that a person may reapply for a permanent or temporary parking permit issued under this section. However, for each reapplication an applicant must comply with the requirements for an initial application as set forth in subsection (a) of this section.

(e) A parking permit for a person with a disability which limits or impairs the ability to walk, or for a person 85 or over, or for an organization pursuant to subsection (i) of this section must be in the form of a removable windshield placard of a size and design determined by the Department. A permanent parking placard must be blue; a temporary parking placard must be red; an organization parking placard must be green. The information on the placard must be large enough to be read clearly from outside a motor vehicle when the placard is hanging from the vehicle's front windshield rearview mirror, or, if there is no front windshield rearview mirror, the placard must be displayed on the dashboard and be able to be read by a person outside of the vehicle. Both sides of the placard must contain the following: the words 'State of Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles' and 'Remove placard when vehicle is in motion', the internationally recognized wheelchair symbol of access, an identification number, and the expiration date. The expiration date must appear in letters or numerals at least 1" tall. Only one placard may be issued initially to an applicant; however, upon written request, the Department shall issue one additional placard to an applicant who does not also have a special license plate issued pursuant to §2134 of this title.

(f) (1) A person or organization for whom a parking placard is issued under this section, or under a similar statute of any other state or country, may park in parking spaces or zones restricted to use only by persons with disabilities and in unmetered parking spaces or zones restricted as to the length of parking time permitted, furthermore, if such a parking space is assigned to a specific person with a disability as that person's residential or business parking space, that person may use the space without any time restriction.

(2) A person who is driving a vehicle with a parking placard issued under this section, or under a similar statute of any other state or country, may not park:

a. in a space or zone where stopping, standing, or parking is prohibited to all vehicles; or

b. in a space or zone which is reserved for other special types of vehicles; or

c. in a space or zone assigned to another person for the other person's residential or business use; or

d. where a local ordinance prohibits parking during heavy traffic periods in morning, afternoon, or evening rush hours; or

e. where parking clearly would present a traffic hazard.

(3) The person for whom a red or blue parking placard is issued under this section, or under a similar statute of any other state or country, must be the driver of or a passenger in the vehicle displaying the parking placard whenever the vehicle parks in a parking space or zone restricted for use only by vehicles with a special license plate or parking placard for persons with disabilities.

(g) A placard issued under this section is for the exclusive and personal use of the person or organization for whom it is issued and may not be used by any other person or organization.

(h) A parking placard must be returned to the Department:

(1) when the person or organization for whom it was issued reapplies for a placard;

(2) when the placard expires;

(3) when the person or organization for whom it was issued no longer needs it, is no longer disabled, or no longer regularly in its course of business transports persons with disabilities;

(4) upon the death of the person for whom it was issued.

(i) Notwithstanding any provisions of this Code to the contrary, the Department may, without the certification of a licensed physician, issue a green parking placard upon application by an organization that regularly in its course of business transports persons with disabilities which limit or impair the ability to walk, if the organization presents proof satisfactory to the Department that the organization regularly in its course of business transports persons with disabilities. A green parking placard may be used only when at least one person who is entitled to obtain a permanent or temporary parking placard pursuant to subsection (a) of this section is being transported, and only when an employee or volunteer staff person of the organization is the driver of the vehicle.

(j) (1) A person or organization who intentionally presents false information to a licensed physician or to the Department in an attempt to obtain a parking placard under this section shall, for the first offense, receive a mandatory fine of $100. For each subsequent like offense, the person or organization shall receive a mandatory fine of $200 or be imprisoned for not less than 10 nor more than 30 days, or both. Any other violation of this section is an unclassified misdemeanor. Justices of the Peace have jurisdiction over violations of this section.

(2) A summons may be attached to an unattended vehicle found in violation of any of the provisions of this section by any police officer or State Police Academy cadet authorized to issue a summons for a violation of this section. It is prima facie evidence that the person or organization in whose name the unattended vehicle is registered is responsible for the violation.

(k) The Department may adopt rules and regulations that are reasonable or necessary for the implementation of this section.".

Section 3. Amend §4183, Title 21 of the Delaware Code by striking §4183 in its entirety and by substituting in lieu thereof the following:

"§4183. Parking areas for vehicles being used by persons with disabilities.

(a) For purposes of this section, the term 'vehicle being used by a person with a disability' means a vehicle:

(1) that displays a valid special license plate issued pursuant to §2134 of this title on the rear of the vehicle, or that displays a valid parking placard issued pursuant to §2135 of this title on the front windshield rearview mirror of the vehicle, or, if there is no mirror, on the dashboard, or that displays a valid plate, placard, or other item issued under a similar statute in another state or country; and

(2) in which the person for whom the plate or placard is issued is either the operator or a passenger, or, in the case of an organization, in which a person who is entitled to obtain a permanent or temporary placard is a passenger.

(b) With the exception of a vehicle being used by a person with a disability, it is unlawful to park on public or private property any vehicle in any area under the control of the Department of Transportation or a local authority within its respective jurisdiction or under the control of an owner or lessee of private property that is designated as a parking space or zone for persons with disabilities which limit or impair the ability to walk, and that is conspicuously marked as such. For purposes of this section, 'conspicuously marked' means that a vertical sign has been placed at an approximate height of at least 5 feet but no more than 7 feet when measured from the surface directly below the sign to the top of the sign for each parking space or zone. The sign must substantially follow federal specifications that identify a parking zone or space as one for persons with disabilities which limit or impair the ability to walk. A sign at least 12 inches wide by 18 inches tall that includes the internationally recognized wheelchair symbol of access substantially follows federal specifications. These requirements may not be construed to preclude additional markings, such as the international wheelchair symbol or a striped extension area painted on the space or zone, or a tow-away warning sign.

(c) Upon the discovery on private property of a vehicle, other than a vehicle being used by a person with a disability, in a designated parking space or zone for persons with disabilities, the owner or lessee of the private property may cause the illegally parked vehicle to be removed to a private storage area maintained for the safe storage of vehicles. Any costs of removal and storage must be borne by the owner or operator of the vehicle. Upon the discovery of a vehicle illegally parked in a designated parking space or zone for persons with disabilities that is under the control of the Department of Transportation or local authorities, the State Police, county police, or municipal police having jurisdiction may cause the illegally parked vehicle to be removed to a private storage area maintained for the safe storage of vehicles. Any costs of removal and storage must be borne by the owner or operator of the vehicle.

(d) In addition to unlawful parking on public or private property in a space or zone designated for a vehicle being used by a person with a disability, the following acts are prohibited on both public and private property and may be enforced pursuant to this section:

(1) creating or using a counterfeit license plate or parking placard, as described in §2134 or §2135 of this title;

(2) altering a license plate or parking placard issued pursuant to §2134 or §2135 of this title;

(3) parking on a striped area, within or adjacent to a space or zone designated for a vehicle being used by a person with a disability; and

(4) being the person or organization to whom a license plate or parking placard has been issued pursuant to §2134 or §2135 of this title, allowing another to use the plate or placard.

(e) A uniform parking summons may be attached to an unattended vehicle found in violation of this section by a person authorized to issue a summons for a violation of this section. It is prima facie evidence that the person or organization in whose name the unattended vehicle is registered is responsible for the violation. The owner or operator of the unattended vehicle may mail or deliver the summons and the designated fine and costs directly to the court identified on the summons instead of appearing before the court for arraignment on the charge, provided that the owner or operator identifies himself, herself, or itself and that the summons and fine and costs are received by the court at least 2 days before the arraignment date designated on the summons.

(f) A person or organization who violates any provision of this section shall receive a mandatory fine of $100 for a first offense, and for a subsequent like offense, a mandatory fine of $200 or a term of imprisonment of not less than 10 nor more than 30 days, or both. In addition, a person or organization who holds a valid special license plate or parking placard issued pursuant to §2134 or §2135 of this title and who violates paragraph (1), (2), or (4) of subsection (d) of this section may receive an additional penalty of up to a 6-month suspension or the permanent revocation of the plate or placard. If a plate is suspended or revoked pursuant to this subsection, the person may apply for and be issued a regular license plate.

(g) The Superintendent of the State Police is authorized to appoint State Police Academy cadets to enforce this section within the unincorporated areas of each county. Cadets appointed pursuant to this subsection must be at least 18 years of age. The Superintendent may establish other qualifications considered necessary or desirable.

(h) A summons issued by a cadet appointed by the Superintendent pursuant to subsection (f) of this section has the same force and effect as a summons issued by the State Police.

(i) Fines collected from summonses issued by the State Police, or by cadets appointed pursuant to subsection (f) of this section, must be deposited into the General Fund.

(j) The authority of the State Police or a cadet appointed by the Superintendent to enforce this section is not limited by any jurisdictional agreement between the State Police and any local law enforcement agency.".

Section 4. Amend §4309, Title 21 of the Delaware Code by designating the present text as subsection (a) and by adding to §4309 a new subsection to read:

"(b) No person shall drive upon a highway a vehicle with a removable windshield placard issued pursuant to §2135 of this title, or pursuant to a similar statute of any other state or country, hanging from or attached to the vehicle's front windshield rearview mirror. A person may be found guilty of violating this subsection whether or not the placard is valid.".

Section 5. Amend §2912, Title 6 of the Delaware Code by striking "identification for the handicapped" as it appears in two places in §2912 and by substituting in each place "parking permit for a person with a disability"; by inserting "or §2135" between "§2134" and "of Title 21" in the first sentence; by designating the present text of §2912 as subsection (a) thereof; and by adding a new subsection (b) to §2912 to read:

"(b) Upon the request of a person with a disability or a person 85 or older to whom a special license plate or parking permit has been issued pursuant to §2134 or §2135 of this title, a retail establishment that offers gasoline for sale only on a self-serve basis must provide refueling assistance without a charge beyond the self-serve price. However, a retail establishment is not required to provide such service at any time that it is operating on a remote control basis with only one employee, or if someone able to provide refueling assistance is also in the vehicle.".

Section 6. The General Assembly authorizes a supplemental appropriation of $10,000 to the Department of Public Safety for the purpose of increasing public awareness of special parking and related services for persons with disabilities and for initial implementation of redesigned placards. The State Treasurer shall pay the supplemental appropriation from the funds of the General Fund of the State of Delaware that are not otherwise appropriated. Any part of the supplemental appropriation which remains unencumbered on June 30, 2003 reverts to the General Fund.

Section 7. This Act becomes effective 3 months after its enactment into law. However, the holder of a valid, unexpired parking placard or special license plate at the time that this Act becomes effective may continue to use the placard or plate lawfully until its expiration date.

Approved July 09, 2002