Disability news, Accessibility Issues, Disability Issues, Accessiblity News

Archive for the ‘transportation’ 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.

Survey: ADA has not improved quality of life

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

From USA Today:

A survey commissioned by the Kessler Foundation/National Organization on Disabilities finds that the ADA has not made meaningful progress in improving the quality of life for people with disabilities.

The survey shows that more must be done to help people with disabilities get ahead, said Carol Glazer, president of the National Organization on Disability.

“While education has improved considerably, joblessness has not. We as a nation must figure this out,” she said.

Among the survey’s key findings:

• People with disabilities still lag in key areas such as employment, access to health care and social interactions;

• 21% of disabled working-age Americans had a job in the past year, versus 59% for those without disabilities;

• 19% of people with disabilities said they did not get the medical care they needed in the past year, with lack of insurance coverage cited as the top reason;

• 48% of people with disabilities eat out at a restaurant twice a month, compared to 75% of those without disabilities; and

• 34% of disabled people say inadequate transportation is a problem, compared to 16% of those without disabilities, a gap that has widened 5 percentage points since 1986.

Related post here.

Protesters say Rochester buses bypass people with wheelchairs

Monday, April 19th, 2010

From the Rochester [NY] Democrat and Chronicle:

Dozens of people protested the transportation authority in Rochester, NY, this week for alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, saying that transit service buses routinely bypass wheelchair users at stops.

“The drivers either don’t want to stop and lower the ramp, or the ramps don’t work,” said Cameron, 44, a systems advocate for the Center for Disability Rights, which organized the protest of about 40 people.

A spokeswoman for the Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority said the authority’s Lift Line service, which provides service to people with disabilities, fulfilled 99.9 percent of ride requests successfully last year.

(Photo from the Democrat and Chronicle)

Riders with disabilities claim shoddy transit service in Detroit

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

From the Detroit News:

Disability rights advocates are threatening to file federal ADA complaints over Detroit’s para-transit service, saying they regularly encounter unkempt and poorly equipped vans and rude drivers who engage in reckless driving, don’t show up at the appointed time and place, and drop clients at the wrong addresses.

The complaints come as the city is engaged in an ongoing contract dispute with its para-transit provider, prompting city officials to hire taxicabs and van services while attempting to resolve the dispute. Veolia Transportation has sued the city in federal court for breach of contract and a claim of $5.4 million.

City officials charge that Veolia is fanning complaints against the city in an attempt to win speedy resolution of its claims.

Report: People with disabilities left out of disaster planning

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

From the New Orleans Times-Picayune:

According to a report by the National Council on Disability, the federal government still lags in including Americans with disabilities and their advocates in planning for disasters.

The report comes four years after hundreds of people with disabilities were stranded in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. Thirty-five died when a nursing home flooded.

“People with disabilities are often left out of planning activities such as analyzing and documenting the possibility of an emergency or disaster and the potential consequences or impacts on life, property and the environment, ” the report says. “These activities include assessing the hazards, risks, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery needs.”

See also:

Strained by Katrina, a Hospital Faced Deadly Choices -New York Times Magazine

Columnist: Better disability transit services needed

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

Columnist Merlene Davis writes that Lexington, KY, does not provide adequate public transportation services for people with disabilities, with some buses ending services as early as 6 p.m. Two organizations, Project Easy Access Lexington and the Latitude Artist Community, are calling for changes.

An excerpt:

If President Barack Obama had invited members of the physically disabled community in Lexington to have a beer with him late one evening at a local pub, many of them would have had to decline.

Or, if one of the disabled was offered a third-shift job that starts after bus service stops, they would have to pass on it.

… Shouldn’t a community like ours ensure access for all its citizens to all available events or employment opportunities?

(From the Lexington, KY, Herald-Leader)

Blind drivers take the wheel

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

Ishaan Rastogi, 15, drives with Virginia Tech graduate Gregg JannamanFrom the Washington Post (with video) and ABC News:

Technology developed by engineers at Virginia Tech put 20 blind drivers behind the wheel at the summer science academy organized by the National Federation of the Blind (NFB).

Virginia Tech developed the technology in response to a 2004 challenge from NFB for a vehicle to give more independence to people who are blind.

Pioneering driver Wesley Majerus from the National Federation of the Blind said, “At first, I was kind of nervous … But once I got the hang of how it all worked, it was liberating.”

The all-terrain vehicle is equipped with laser sensors, voice-command software, and multi-sensory signals, but engineers say the technology is still crude and needs further development.

[Dennis Hong, an associate professor at Virginia Tech who directs the robotics lab] predicts a safe, stable technology for blind motorists will arrive “within the next three years. The problem is not the technology. The problem is public perception and legal issues.”

See also:

‘Blind Man Driving!’ (photos) – Washington Post

(Washington Post photo)

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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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