RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (ValleyCentral) — On Jan. 1, a new law went into effect requiring Texans with Disabled Veteran license plates who wish to park in spaces must have a license plate or disabled parking placard that features the International Symbol of Access (ISA) at the time of renewal.

Under the previous law, veteran license plates did not feature the ISA, and all Texans with these plates were permitted to use disabled parking.

Disabled veterans wanting to get an ISA tag for their vehicle must meet the legal definition of a disability.

“Disability” means a condition in which a person has:

  • Visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with correcting lenses.
  • Visual acuity of more than 20/200 but with a limited field of vision in which the widest diameter of the visual field subtends an angle of 20 degrees or less.
  • Mobility problems that substantially impair a person’s ability; these problems can be caused by: paralysis, lung disease, use of portable oxygen, cardiac deficiency, wheelchair confinement, foot disorder, arthritis, neurological, or orthopedic condition. It also includes other medical conditions causing a person to use a brace, cane, crutch, or other assistive devices.

The character on the ISA tag will look similar to an ordinary disabled parking pass, but Roland D. Luna Sr., Vehicle Title of Registration Division Director for the Texas DMV said it may look a bit different.

According to Luna Sr., you can either apply for a tag at your local tax assessor’s office or with the county you are receiving medical attention.

The ISA parking tag or placard is only valid when being used by the person with the disability or by someone who is driving a person with the disability in the vehicle.

Although the abuse of disabled tags is not common, Luna Sr. added it is a violation of the state to use the placard or tag for a disabled parking spot without the person with the disability in the vehicle.

“Fines can go up to $1,250 and up to 50 hours of community service,” said Luna Sr. “As you know, these are offenses that are enforced by law enforcement officials and law enforcement agencies throughout the state of Texas.”

Current placards or tags are still valid but must be changed to the ISA come the time of renewal.

In addition, Senate Bill 792 will also create more disabled parking spots throughout the state.

The application for an ISA disabled license plate or tag can be found here.

For more information on ISA tags, the Texas DMV has a PDF available.