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What is the federal standard for Handicap Parking Signs?

What is the federal standard for handicap parking signs?   If your state has no specific requirements, then you would use the “federal standard” handicap parking signs. Though all states must adhere to the Federal Standards, some states require their own specific text on their handicap parking sign postings …such as “violation fines” or “permit required.” Consult your state’s regulations for state specific requirements.

The Americans with Disabilities (A.D.A.) Act of 1990 is a US labor law that prohibits unjustified discrimination because of a disability. The 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design (ADAAG) provides design standards for handicap accessible parking spaces. Section 502.6 of ADAAG and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) both provide design standards for the required handicap parking signs.

Accessible parking spaces must be identified by signs that include the International Symbol of Accessibility. Signs at van-accessible spaces must include the additional phrase “van-accessible.”
  • Accessible parking spaces must have a sign that display the international symbol of accessibility (Figure 703.7.2.1) and have the phrase “RESERVED PARKING.” Spaces designed for van parking must also have a sign stating “VAN ACCESSIBLE.”  (See MUTCD #R7-8). NOTE: The required “van accessible” designation is intended to be informative, not restrictive, in identifying those spaces that are better suited for van use. Enforcement of motor vehicle laws, including parking privileges, is a local matter.
  • Figure 703.7.2.1 International Symbol of Accessibility -> symbol
  • The sign should be 12”wide x 18”tall with green lettering and border on a white background. The symbol of accessibility should be 4” tall and be white on a blue background. The symbol is a depiction of a person in a wheel chair. See (Figure 703.7.2.1)
  • If required, the van accessible sign should be 12”wide x 6”tall and have green lettering and border on a white background or white lettering and border on a blue background.
  • Signs should be mounted so that the lower edge of the sign is at least five feet above the ground. This helps ensure visibility both for motorists and local enforcement officials.
  • Signs should be constructed to withstand the elements. An aluminum substrate with a reflective surface using UV stable ink is recommended.
  • Note: Federal accessibility signs typically avoid the use of the term “handicapped” or “disabled” as a result of the Department of Justice’s efforts to make use of up-to-date accepted terminology.
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MUTCD Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices
Design ADA Parking Spaces
2010 ADAAG Standards