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What is the law for handicapped parking?

Question: I have a disability parking certificate that I can hang on my rearview mirror when parked in a handicap parking spot. I have done this for some time now and I recently got a ticket from the (small town name omitted by Trooper Andy) police officer for parking in a handicap van parking spot. Since I have a proper certificate, how can this be illegal?

Answer: I hope you don't mind that I omitted the name of the town. Minnesota law states that it is a violation for someone to park in a handicap designated parking spot if they do not have handicap license plates or a certificate.

When I first learned of your situation I must admit I was really surprised. After checking the statutes a little deeper here is what I found: Statute 193.345 sb 1 (a) (1-3) basically states a vehicle that has disability plates issued by law (or a certificate) can park in handicap parking spots properly marked for people with disabilities. However, subdivision 1 (c), in part, states that the parking privilege allowed by use of these license plates or certificates does not apply in parking spaces reserved for specified purposes or vehicles. If the parking spot was identified by a sign for use by "handicap vans" then you were technically in violation of the parking law. That is of course assuming you were not driving one of those vehicles.

Now I must admit that I have never observed that type of sign before. I did some checking into our statutes and cannot find a legal definition for "handicap van" anywhere. From a legal standpoint that could be an interesting technicality. I checked with DMV and found out that the signs are actually made by/for a disabilities organization in Minnesota. The signs are then sent to a community and the community then places the signs at the locations they desire. The community can enact a city ordinance that can restrict the parking and it is my guess that is where the restriction actually came from.

Here are some simple tasks to help you avoid being in a crash: turn on your lights; drive sober; stop talking on the cell phone; slow down; and because not every driver out there is as careful as you, buckle up.

If you have any questions concerning traffic-related laws in Minnesota, send your questions to Trooper Andy Schmidt, Minnesota State Patrol, 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205. Or reach me at