New Driving Decal Available for Communication Impaired Persons

New Driving Decal Available for Communication Impaired Persons

When persons with communication impairments are stopped by law enforcement officers, the impairment may be misinterpreted by the officers as resulting from intoxication or other cause.  A new law allows persons with such disabilities to obtain a driving decal that informs law officers of their communication disabilities prior to an interaction.

Mississippi. Code Annotated § 63-21-70, effective January 1, 2021 and entitled Application for Communication Impaired Decal, provides for special license plate and windshield decals indicating impaired or limited ability to communicate with law enforcement.  The law states as follows:

(1) Upon application by any legal resident of the State of Mississippi with a health condition or disability which limits or impairs the ability to effectively communicate with law enforcement, the department shall prepare and issue through the county tax collectors a special decal that is to be placed on license plates and on front left windshield corners bearing that indication for any vehicles that are registered in the applicant’s name or otherwise authorized to be applied for by the applicant.

(2) The initial application shall be accompanied by the certification of a Mississippi licensed physician or Mississippi licensed psychologist who will prescribe that (a) the applicant or the applicant’s child, parent or spouse has a physical or mental health condition that will impair the ability to effectively communicate with law enforcement; and (b) the physician or psychologist has determined that the applicant or the applicant’s child, parent or spouse will have the communication impairment for at least five (5) years. The department shall prepare and issue to the tax collectors of the various counties, decals for placement on license plates.

(3) A person to whom the special decal is issued may retain the special decal and may renew it on the issuance of a new license plate by submitting to the county tax collector, on or before its expiration, the certification of a Mississippi licensed physician or Mississippi licensed psychologist who will prescribe that (a) the applicant or the applicant’s child, parent or spouse has a physical or mental health condition that will impair the ability to effectively communicate with law enforcement; and (b) the physician or psychologist has determined that the applicant or the applicant’s child, parent or spouse will have the communication impairment for at least five (5) years.

(4) Information supplied to the department or to the county tax collector is for confidential use and may not be disclosed to any person.

Process to Apply

Applications are available through local County Tax Assessors Offices or you may access it online.  Link to the application: https://www.dor.ms.gov/Forms/77-517-20-8%20Application%20for%20Communication%20Impaired%20Decal.pdf

The family will complete this form and return to his/her County Tax Assessor’s Office/Vehicle Tag Office. Once approved, two decals will be provided. One decal should be placed on the left front windshield and the other on the tag.

Thanks to Laura Pannell, Ph.D., C.P.G., Lead eFaculty in Psychology & Social Work at Itawamba Community College for this update.