Ask the Chief
Q: After seeing people parking in handicapped access lanes, or not seeing a tag hanging from the mirror when in a handicapped parking stall, may law enforcement patrol shopping centers, private parking lots etc. since handicapped parking is governed by state law? And could you post the basic regs involving handicapped parking? Perhaps even a once a month sweep would get people's attention and bring in enough revenue to support the patrol, isn't parking in an access lane a mandatory $100 fine under state law?
A: Yes, the Red Wing Police Department enforces the law regarding disability parking violations on public and private properties. To legally use a disability parking spot, a motorist must have a state-issued permit valid for 30 days, or disability plates with attached emblems on both the front and rear of the vehicle.
In the event that the designated disability parking spaces are either occupied or unavailable, a vehicle bearing a valid disability parking certificate issued under section 169.345 or license plates for physically disabled persons under section168.021 may park at an angle and occupy two standard parking spaces.
We have noticed and received complaints regarding inappropriate usage. Even with proper identification, disabled parking spaces can ONLY be used when the person with the disability is with the vehicle. It’s a recurring problem for non-disabled drivers to use a permit granted to the authorized user, which is a misdemeanor crime, punishable by a $500 fine (plus the $75 surcharge) and seizure of the physically disable parking permit under Minnesota Statute 165.345. If you observe a violation of this crime, please contact the non-emergency police dispatch number at 651-385-3155.
In order for disability parking to be enforced, a disability parking space must have a sign listing the consequence that is visible from the driver’s seat. Having blue paint markings on the pavement is insufficient.
(a) Parking spaces reserved for physically disabled persons must be designated and identified by the posting of signs incorporating the international symbol of access in white on blue and indicating that violators are subject to a fine of up to $200. These parking spaces are reserved for disabled persons with motor vehicles displaying the required certificate, plates, permit valid for 30 days, or insignia.
(b) For purposes of this subdivision, a parking space that is clearly identified as reserved for physically disabled persons by a permanently posted sign that does not meet all design standards, is considered designated and reserved for physically disabled persons. A sign posted for the purpose of this section must be visible from inside a motor vehicle parked in the space, be kept clear of snow or other obstructions which block its visibility, and be nonmovable.
Parking space free of obstruction; The owner or manager of the property on which the designated parking space is located shall ensure that the parking space and associated access aisle are kept free of obstruction. If the owner or manager does not have the parking space properly posted or allows the parking space or access aisle to be blocked by snow, merchandise, or similar obstructions for 24 hours after receiving a warning from a peace officer, the owner or manager is guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to a fine of up to $500.
Minnesota Statute also allows for citizen enforcement programs to assist law enforcement in the enforcement of disability parking spaces. If there are any groups or individuals interested in this program, please contact me (Chief Pohlman) for more information or let your City Council representative know, as this would require program establishment through City Code.
1. Minnesota Statute 165.345, Parking Privilege for Physically Disabled. https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/2017/cite/169.345
2. Minnesota Statute 165.346, Disability Parking Areas, Enforcement. https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/cite/169.346