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March 19, 2024Advocacy Matters

Proposed Federal Rule on Ensuring Safe and Accessible Air Travel for People with Disabilities

Disability Matters with Joyce Bender

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

 #AdvocacyMatters

Proposed Federal Rule on Ensuring Safe and Accessible

Air Travel for People with Disabilities

On February 29, 2024, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced a new proposed rule that would increase safe travel for passengers who use wheelchairs.

The proposed rule would set new standards for airlines.  For example, the new rule would require stronger annual and practical training in handling wheelchairs or having to physically assist passengers with disabilities. The proposed would increase accountability for damaging or delaying the return of a wheelchair.  DOT (Department of Transportation) is proposing the damage or delayed return of a wheelchair be an automatic violation of the Air Carrier Access Act, subject to a fine. The proposed would also require airlines to allow a person with a disability to use their preferred vendor to fix the damaged wheelchair.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation an estimated 5.5 million Americans use a wheelchair and many encounter barriers when it comes to air travel.  In 2023, DOT documented 11,527 wheelchairs and scooters that were mishandled by carriers.

#AdvocacyMatters

Regulations are critically important to ensure access for people with disabilities.  If you agree with the changes, you need to say so.  If you have suggestions for improvements in air travel, say so. The comment period ends May 13, 2024.

To view the proposed rule, all the comments received to date, and to find the link to make a comment, visit www.disabilityrightspa.org and click on today’s #AdvocacyMatters segment.

Links

Proposed Rule

https://www.transportation.gov/airconsumer/flying-with-dignity-NPRM-PDF

Review 240 Comments Submitted to Date

https://www.regulations.gov/docket/DOT-OST-2022-0144/comments

Submit Your Comment

https://www.regulations.gov/commenton/DOT-OST-2022-0144-0225