Monday, August 23, 2010

ADA Guidance for Getting Around

The Department of Justice has issued a fact sheet that highlights the Department of Justice's ADA design standards. Specific to transportation, there is guidance about service animals - specifically, dogs trained to perform certain tasks. Those animals that provide solely emotional support, do not, for ADA purposes, constitute service animals. There are nuances to the rule, so careful reading is recommended.

Another area where transportation is affected is use of wheelchairs and mobility devices. Wheelchairs are permitted wherever pedestrians are allowed. However, Segways, "which are often used by individuals with disabilities as their mobility device of choice," are Justice's prime focus in this guidance. To ban "power-driven mobility devices," the rule requires a "covered entity [to] demonstrate that such use would fundamentally alter its programs, services, or activities, create a direct threat, or create a safety hazard."

Burden of Proof

Note that the fact sheet clearly places the burden of proof on the covered entity to prove that the "power-driven mobility device" falls within the threat, safety or other allowances for banning the devices from certain places. The user of the device is not required to show anything to trigger the right to use a particular device.

Topic Guides

Easter Seals Project ACTION is featuring the ADA Topic Guides in its newsletter. The topic guides are very detailed instructions about what the ADA requires in terms of paratransit eligibility, equipment maintenance, no shows and other operational issues. The Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund and TranSystem Corporation prepared the topic guides with funding from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).

Though not transportation-related, the Department of Justice released a guide to providing accessible medical care for people with disabilities. Access To Medical Care For Individuals With Mobility Disabilities provides straight-forward and simple advice about what accessibility means and details related to medical offices, such as transfer techniques and accessible exam tables.

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