In 1988 the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) made a list of requirements for postings that are going to be in a building with public access which came to be known as the ADA handicap signs. You can see a variety of them in any public place.
ADA handicap signs have the name of the room it is assigned to, as well as the name translated in Braille. Some can even have pictures on them. In 1990, they designated a set of requirements for handicap parking postings. This regulation states that the symbols must be placed in front of each parking space that is designated for those with disabilities. It must be tall enough in height that it does not get blocked by a parked vehicle. Along with the federal set of requirements, both state and local authorities can add anything they think needs to be added. For instance, the amount of, or the type of spaces needed for the building can be altered.
This symbol that is used is a well known one. The background color is blue and the picture and lettering is white. The picture is universal and people have come to call it the “wheelchair” picture. It is very noticeable, which makes it easy to spot when driving around the parking lot, or walking around the building. The wheelchair symbol can be seen inside a public building, outside of a public building, and of course in the parking lot as well. The colors may vary depending on the local and state laws referring to ADA handicap signs.
When it comes to the wording of the ADA handicap sign, the lettering should be large enough to discern from a distance by the average person. It should simply state that only people that have a handicap license plate or hanging placard can park in these reserved parking spaces. The most common one that we see is the blue placard that hangs from the rear-view mirror. At least one handicap space is required in public parking lots. The size of said parking lot determines how many handicap parking spaces are required by law.
If you have paid attention, then you have noticed that the handicap parking spaces are much larger than the normal parking spaces. There is, of course, a reason behind this. Most handicap spaces have an extra accessibility zone so the passengers have enough room to exit the vehicle without having to worry about swinging car doors. Some vehicles have a platform in which the person in the wheelchair can ride on and get lowered down to the ground. This extra zone space allows people to do this with ease. Van spaces are even wider than regular handicap parking spaces. The posting should read “Van Accessible”. As mentioned above, you must have the proper tag or hanging placard to be able to park legally in those designated spots. If you do not have either of these, and choose to park in a handicap space, you can receive a fine for doing so. Individual states may post the fine amounts on the ADA handicap sign, although it is not a federal requirement to do so.