TEXAS (KFDX/KJTL) — A recent change in the Texas law regarding requirements for individuals to park in reserved parking spaces may mean some Texans who have previously been able to utilize these spots are currently parking there illegally.

The holiday season in the autumn months means countless hours spent shopping for many Americans, with retail and grocery stores becoming more and more crowded and their parking lots filling up quicker and quicker.

For individuals with disabilities, the parking spaces that provide them with greater accessibility to these stores are crucial to their ability to prepare for the holidays.

Many who have been parking in these spots for years may think they’re still able to do so; however, without a new license plate or disability placard, they may be fined over $1,000 for doing so.

It’s all thanks to a law that’s been in effect for less than two years.

Image courtesy Texas Department of Motor Vehicles

Senate Bill 792 amended the Texas Transportation Code to allow eligible disabled veterans to opt for a new Disabled Veteran license plate that includes the International Symbol of Access.

SB 792 also amended another part of the Transportation Code, stating that a vehicle parked in a disabled parking space must have a DV license plate that includes the ISA. Before this law took effect, Texans with disabled veteran license plates that did not include the ISA were still allowed access to park in spaces reserved for disabled persons.

Adam Shaivitz, Media and Communications Officer with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, said the change in the state law regarding disabled parking spaces went into effect on January 1, 2022.

“Per state law, anyone parking in a disabled parking space must have either a disabled person license plate that features the International Symbol of Access (ISA) or a disabled parking placard,” Shaivitz said.

According to a news release from the DMV, not all disabilities that qualify a veteran for disabled veterans license plates will qualify for a disabled veteran license plate featuring the ISA.

Texans can fill out an application online with the DMV to obtain a disabled person placard or a disabled veteran license plate with the ISA in order to continue parking in designated parking spaces for disabled persons.