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Information for Disabled Drivers in Massachusetts

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In Massachusetts, drivers certified by licensed health personnel to have impaired mobility or a condition which substantially interferes with mobility may qualify for "Disabled" status.

You are also considered a disabled driver if you:

  • Cannot walk 200 feet without stopping to rest.
  • Cannot walk without the assistance of another person, prosthetic aid or other assistive device.
  • Are restricted by lung disease to such a degree that your forced (respiratory) expiratory volume in 1 second, when measured by spirometry, is less than 1liter.
  • Use portable oxygen.
  • Have a Class III or Class IV cardiac condition according to the standards set by the American Heart Association (You will have to surrender your driving license if you are diagnosed with a Class IV cardiac condition).
  • Have Class III or Class IV functional anatomic arthritis according to the standards set by the American College of Rheumatology.
  • Have been declared legally blind (You will have to surrender your driving license).
  • Have l permanently lost or lost the use of one or more limbs.

Disabled persons can acquire a disability placard or disability license plates. These entitle you to special parking privileges in areas designated for disabled persons, whenever you are the driver or a passenger of the vehicle. Misuse or abuse of these privileges is a misdemeanor; offenders can get fines of $500-$1,000, suspension of their special parking privileges, and a 30 day suspension of their driving license. Forgery and/or trading in counterfeit or genuine placards invite higher penalties, including time in state prison.

Visit the section on Massachusetts RMV's Medical Affairs and Disabled Parking for details.


You are considered to have disabled status when you acquire a disability placard or license plates. The procedure to acquire these is explained below.

Duration of status

Disability license plates are available only to those who are permanently disabled and own a vehicle. They must be renewed along with the registration, every 2 years.

Disability placards may be issued to those with permanent or temporary disabilities:

  • Placards for the permanently disabled are valid for 5 years.
  • Temporary placards are valid from 2 months up to 24 months depending on the certification provided by your physician.

How to apply for disability license plates or a disability placard

To obtain disability license plates or placards:

  1. Download and complete the Application for Disabled Parking Placard/Plate.
  2. Have a licensed medical professional, chiropractor, physician's assistant, registered nurse, or optometrist complete and sign sections F and G of the form.
  3. Disabled Veterans must also include a statement of disability certifying that 60% of the disability is service connected from the Veteran Administration. The passenger vehicle must be registered in the applicants name
  4. Submit the completed form along with applicable fees to the nearest full service RMV branch office or mail it to the address on the form:
    Attn: Medical Affairs Branch
    Registry of Motor Vehicles
    PO Box 55889
    Boston, MA 02205-5889    


You do not need a doctor's certificate, if you are legally blind and have a Certificate of Blindness.


A permanent or temporary disability placard is free. No fee is charged for replacements or renewals. No additional fees are charged for disability plates other than the standard registration fee of $36.


Once the 5 year validity of permanent disability placards is over:

  1. The RMV will automatically mail you a renewal notice 60 days prior to expiry.
  2. Review the information in the notice, and make any changes, such as address change, if applicable, and mail it back to the Medical Affairs Branch.
  3. Holders of permanent placards do not require recertification by a doctor.


To replace lost, stolen or mutilated placards:

  1. Submit a written request to the Medical Affairs Branch stating that a Duplicate or Replacement Placard is needed.
  2. Include your name, address, social security number, date of birth and the Placard number or date the Placard was first issued.
  3. Mail the letter to:
    Attn: Medical Affairs Branch
    Registry of Motor Vehicles
    PO Box 55889
    Boston, MA 02205-5889    


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