Disability news, Accessibility Issues, Disability Issues, Accessiblity News

Archive for the ‘accessibility’ Category

US Airways ejects man with wheelchair: ‘Too disabled to fly’

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

From ABC News, CNN, Grand Rapids [MI] Press:

Johnnie Tuitel, a motivational speaker who uses a wheelchair, says he was forced to leave a recent US Airways flight before takeoff because flight personnel had decided that he was “too disabled to fly.”

Tuitel, who has cerebral palsy, said the incident occurred last month while he was waiting for his flight to take off from Palm Beach, headed for a speaking engagement in Kansas City, Mo. He said he was told that he could not stay on the flight unless he had an attendant with him. Tuitel was removed from the flight and missed his engagement.

US Airways said the decision to deplane Tuitel was because of safety concerns.

:”We just felt it wasn’t safe for him to fly that day, unassisted,” said spokesman Todd Lehmacher. “Our number-one priority, of course, is safety. We transport 80 million passengers a year. The crew just felt it wasn’t safe for him to fly.”

… “I just think that my civil rights were violated, and that I should have the same rights to fly as any other citizen so that I can do business,” Tuitel said in a press release. “All I want to do as speaker is to make a living and take care of my family.”

By Marybeth Hicks, writing in the Washington Times:

Being the reluctant flier that I am, and having visited Mr. Tuitel’s website and watched his videos, I would sit next to him on any flight. Most emergencies require strength of character, courage, tenacity and a sense of humor. It’s clear US Airways kicked off the most able of its passengers that day.

President signs technology access measure

Monday, October 11th, 2010

From AP on MSNBC, with video; the Digital Journal; Wireless Week; American Foundation for the Blind release in the Kansas City Star:

President Obama has signed legislation that requires smart phones, television programs and other modern communications technologies to be made accessible to people who have impaired vision or hearing.

The legislation was hailed as “life-changing” by Paul Schroeder, a vice president at the American Foundation for the Blind.

“We’ve come a long way but even today, after all the progress that we’ve made, too many Americans with disabilities are still measured by what folks think they can’t do, instead of what we know they can do,” Obama said.

The new law “will make it easier for people who are deaf, blind or live with a visual impairment to do what many of us take for granted,” he said, from navigating a TV or DVD menu to sending an e-mail on a smart phone.

Bill would improve accessibility for Web, mobile devices

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

From the Washington Post:

Consumers with disabilities say the Internet and many mobile devices are leaving them behind, but legislation pending in Congress would pressure electronics companies to improve accessibility for all.

“This is simply about inclusion. You have an industry that is known for innovation, but they don’t have a cultural understanding of what universal design truly means,” said Rosaline Crawford, a legal director at the National Association of the Deaf.

Earlier post here.

Senate passes bill to improve web, mobile phone access

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

Press releases from Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Arkansas) and American Association of People with Disabilities:

The U.S. Senate has unanimously passed a bill aimed at making the Internet and mobile phones more accessible to people who are blind or have reduced vision. Among its provisions, the measure:

  • Mandates accessibility in smart phones, including compatibility with hearing aids;
  • Requires closed captioning on some television programming shown on the Internet; and
  • Requires that video programming devices be capable of closed captioning, video descriptions and emergency alerts.

A similar measure has already passed the House.

“The Internet and other emerging communication equipment are no longer a luxury. They are an essential gateway to learn, interact and conduct business,” said bill co-sponsor Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Arkansas). “This legislation will ensure all Americans, including those with disabilities, are able to fully participate in today’s online world.”

See also:

FCC issues order to make mobile phones more compatible with hearing aids — The Hill’s technology blog

House passes bill to make Internet more accessible for disabled — Post Tech blog, Washington Post

House votes to improve Internet access for disabled — Associated Press

Despite ADA, much of Boston remains inaccessible

Monday, July 26th, 2010

David Abel reports in the Boston Globe that thousands of pedestrian ramps, walkways and government buildings around Boston, including polling places and schools, remain inaccessible to people with disabilities twenty years after the Americans with Disabilities Act became the law of the land.

Advocates say the city and state have often failed to comply with the law, and succeeded in persuading the city’s Architectural Access Board to levy the largest fines in its history . Officials acknowledge that they have been lax in implementing needed changes, but insist that they are now making progress.

“It has been embarrassing that such a world-class city like Boston isn’t more inclusive or hasn’t served as a model for other cities,” said Valerie Fletcher, executive director of the Institute for Human Centered Design in Boston, which has helped organize a celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act today. on Boston Common.

(With video)

DOJ seeks improved Internet access for people with disabilities

Saturday, July 24th, 2010

From Reuters:

The U.S. Department of Justice this week issued proposals aimed at enhancing access for people with disabilities to commercial and government websites, Internet emergency call centers, and entertainment programming in movie theaters. The proposals, which are primarily aimed at improving access for people with vision and hearing impairments,  are expected to draw criticism from the business community.

“It is clear that the system of voluntary compliance has proved inadequate in providing website accessibility to individuals with disabilities,” the proposal said.

… “We’re generally supportive of the Americans with Disabilities Act but we need to come up with a reasonable way to provide these services,” said Randy Johnson, a senior vice president for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and worked on the 1990 law while a congressional staff member.

City to drivers with disabilities: Pay up

Saturday, June 19th, 2010

From NBC Washington:

Officials in Alexandria, Virginia, have decided the city can no longer afford to offer free metered parking to drivers using disabled parking placards. The change, which goes into effect in September, is expected to generate $133,000 in revenue for the city in its first year alone.

City officials say the switch is designed to combat parking fraud, as well as to respond to gripes by consumers without disabilities. Critics say the city should step up enforcement, not penalize legitimate placard holders.

“We get complaints: Why is this segment of the public actually parking at no cost, and that cost is then being borne, then, by the general user of parking within the right of way?” said Richard Baier, Director of Alexandria’s Transportation and Environmental Services.

Related posts here.

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More than 50 million people in the United States have disabilities, a number that is growing rapidly as the population ages. Experts say disability will soon affect the lives of most Americans. This website attempts to aggregate news and commentary about disability, and to document the efforts of people who are seeking new ways to address familiar challenges.

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