By Bob Robinson
Question: How many Carter County motorists have handicap license tags? Are there enough designated handicap parking spaces in the City of Elizabethton?
Answer: For the 12-month period ending Sept. 30, 2012, approximately 53,780 license plates, new and renewal, were issued by the Carter County Clerk’s Office. Included were 2,283 handicap license plate renewals, 467 new handicap plates, and 269 handicap hang tags for rear-view mirrors.
A driver may qualify as disabled in Tennessee if he or she has had an arm, leg, foot or hand amputated, or if he or she has a condition rendering the person similarly disabled as certified by a physician. A person requiring the use of a wheelchair and anyone suffering from an ailment that prohibits him or her from being able to walk 200 feet without stopping to rest is also considered disabled. This includes, but is not limited to, persons experiencing pulmonary or cardiac illnesses, using crutches or wearing a brace. A person is also determined to be disabled if his vision is not better than 20/200.
Tennessee state law requires all cities and counties to provide free parking to all disabled persons with a disabled parking placard displayed in their car. No fees may be extracted for parking in any metered parking space, on streets, or in municipal parking lots as long as the parking placard is displayed and the disabled person present.
The 2006 International Building Code requires two percent of parking spaces, ranging from 501 to 1,000 spaces, to be reserved for handicapped parking, 1,001 and over parking spaces must have 20, plus one for each 100, or fraction thereof, over 1,000.
• Hospital outpatient facilities: 10 percent of patient and visitor parking spaces provided to serve hospital outpatient facilities shall be accessible.
• Rehabilitation facilities and outpatient physical therapy facilities: 20 percent, but not less than one, of the portion of patient and visitor parking spaces serving rehabilitation facilities and outpatient physical therapy facilities shall be accessible.
• Van spaces: For every six accessible parking spaces at least one shall be a van-accessible parking space.
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