The red permits are "temporary" and good for only about 6 months and allow the permit user to park in any blue space that isn't marked for wheelchair users.
The dark blue permits are for the permanently disabled, without wheelchair or other wheeled device.
The light blue permits with a "W" on them and is for wheelchair (& other wheeled devices) users. This permit allows the driver to park in any handicap parking spot that is available, including wheelchair van accessible spots...although they are supposed to avoid wheelchair van spaces if possible.
My suggestion for the state is to make one more tier, or just reinforce the one we have a bit more. Wheelchair Van accessible spots should really only be available to those who have vans or other vehicles with side lifts. This would make a lot of sense because while other spaces can accommodate all other users, only the wide wheelchair van spots can accommodate wheelchair entry and exit from the side of a vehicle.
Its also worth pointing out that there are 4 different types of wheelchair signs and half of those are open to anyone with any type of handicap permit, while the other two are shared between "wheelchair users". You would think that it is easy to find a good space with all of these signs, but I have found that it really isn't easy much of the time. Many of these spaces are for any permit user, so It's especially difficult if you are in the larger cities with a wheelchair van, or at a busy event. Too often I see people with Mini Coopers, Prius and other small cars park in wheelchair van spaces, walking into the store with their empty car waiting car behind.
I put wheelchair users in parentheses because out of the dozens of people I have witnessed (and I am sure you have also) parking in wheelchair only spots, none that I have seen have ever had a wheelchair with them and all of them travel alone or with another able biped. This point displays the fact that handicap permit use has gone out of control, with a severe lack of enforcement. People are not to legally use the permits without the permit holder present.
In the morning I drop my son off at his school. A couple days a week I spare him the bus trip and pick him up for his appointments. Every afternoon, at every teacher conference and every school event I have ever attended I see people without any handicap permits parking in all or most all of the marked handicap spaces! In one instance I decided to take pictures of a small suv that always parked in the best wheelchair van accessible space and a lady (teacher) walked out of a classroom, and says to me that she was just moving it. I am pretty sure that her urgency in moving had something to do with me and my phone. I've complained several times nicely to the Coos County Sheriff's office about putting some teeth into enforcement, but as of yet no effort observed.They don't typically use deputies for this. Normally retired volunteers write up the violators.
In closing, here are my key points numbered below:
1. If you have no disabled parking permits then you have no business parking in the blue spaces, even it is open and you are just going to occupy it for a second.
2. If you do have the proper parking permit and are not going to unload a wheelchair from the side, please avoid the wheelchair van spaces, as more spaces will work for you than will work for vans.
3. State reps get to work on remedying this situation, the way I explained it. Wheelchair vans are increasingly popular, especially as our population ages. Make these useless Electric car parking spaces an overflow for disabled as well as allowing the rich to charge their cars.
4. The permit should not be hanging in your window if you do not have the permit holder with you. Therefore you already know that sentence #1 applies to you as well with regards to disabled parking.
5. Onto my last point or rant, it says on the bottom of the permit "Important: Remove from Mirror Before Driving Vehicle." That sounds simple enough.
Okay, now I feel better.