HomeBusinessDOT Announces Rule Calling...

DOT Announces Rule Calling For Wheelchair-Accessible Toilets On Single-Aisle Planes

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) issued a final rule under the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) on Wednesday that will make airplane bathrooms more accessible to disabled travelers.

The new regulation will require new single-aisle aircraft bathrooms with a minimum of 125 seats to have larger, wheelchair-accessible bathrooms with accessibility features such as grab bars and accessible faucets, controls, call buttons and door locks.

“We are proud to announce this rule that will make airplane bathrooms larger and more accessible, ensuring travelers in wheelchairs are afforded the same access and dignity as the rest of the traveling public,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement on Wednesday.

Accessible bathrooms have been provided on the two-aisle aircraft for decades, according to The New York Times. But there has been no requirement for accessible bathrooms to be provided on single-aisle planes, which are commonly used for longer flights.

Most single-aisle aircraft bathrooms are too small to accommodate onboard wheelchairs or attendants and lack the accessibility features needed to support passengers with physical, visual and other disabilities, the DOT wrote in the final rule, adding that airlines tend to forgo accessible bathrooms in favor of additional rows of seats.

As a result of this barrier, many disabled people choose not to fly unless absolutely necessary, according to a survey conducted by disability groups.

“It is an unfortunate reality that today, many air travelers with disabilities, knowing that they will not be able to use the lavatory during a flight, may dehydrate themselves or even withhold bodily functions so that they do not need to urinate. These actions can cause adverse health effects, including increased chances of urinary tract infections,” the DOT wrote in the final rule.

The rule arrived on the 33rd anniversary of the landmark passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and one year after the Department of Transportation published the first bill of rights for disabled air travelers. Disabled people have come forward about issues faced while traveling, such as the alarming number of wheelchairs mishandled and damaged by airlines.

Efforts To Address Airline Travel Accessibility

The Transportation Department’s rule is a culmination of yearslong efforts to address issues of airline inaccessibility.

The Air Carrier Access Act, enacted in 1986 and amended in 2000, prohibits U.S. airline carriers and foreign carriers from discriminating against disabled individuals. 

In 2016, the Department established the Advisory Committee on Accessible Air Transportation, which consisted of disability rights activists, airline manufacturers, airlines and flight attendants to develop regulations on accessibility issues to ensure nondiscriminatory services are provided to disabled individuals.  

The committee developed recommendations that year for new regulatory proposals to improve the accessibility of bathrooms on single-aisle aircraft. In 2020, the DOT issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) for short-term improvements involving changes to bathroom interiors, additional training and information procedures relating to bathroom accessibility, and improvements to the aircraft’s onboard wheelchairs. 

Last year, the DOT issued an NPRM for long-term improvements requiring airlines to install larger bathrooms on certain single-aisle planes that would accommodate an on-board wheelchair transfer of a disabled passenger to and from the toilet, with or without assistance. 

Its final rule on Wednesday combines and addresses the issues presented in both the long-term and short-term NPRMs from recent years. The rule is one of several other efforts brought forward by the DOT to make travel easier and more accessible for disabled passengers, including a bipartisan infrastructure law that will modernize airport terminals. 

These provisions on bathroom accessibility features are expected to be added to new planes delivered within three years after the rule takes effect. The bathroom size expansion is expected to take effect for new planes ordered in 10 years or delivered in 12 years — a timeline still faster than the original one laid out in 2016. 

“[Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg] moved the ball forward on air travel accessibility by years,” Vincenzo Piscopo, president and CEO of the United Spinal Association, said in a statement. “While we still have work to do, this is amazing progress.”

Source link

Most Popular


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

More from Author

Read Now

Australia making most of ‘massive opportunity’ at NHL Global Series — Melbourne | NHL.com

You could see NHL gear all over the city Saturday, from Queen Victoria Market to the Central Business District to Melbourne Park, where fans participated in activities at the NHL Global Fan Tour outside Rod Laver Arena. It was an interesting mix of expats and Aussies. Kyle Webb...

Before We All Leave WhatsApp Because of the Channels Feature

From the COLlive inbox: "Educators and parents are very concerned about the new Channels feature on WhatsApp, turning it into another social media platform. Simply getting everyone to leave WhatsApp may not be the ultimate solution to the concerns we face." Full Story By Mendel Educators...

No magic pill for living till 100, but there are nine lessons we can learn: Dan Buettner – Times of India

Dan Buettner has spent years researching Blue Zones, the five places in the world where people live the longest, healthiest lives. With his documentary on the secrets of longevity creating quite a buzz, he spoke to Sunday Times about what centenarians can teach usHave you uncovered...

Stunning $6.75m mansion has BELL BOARD inspired by Downton Abbey

A Texan mansion on the outskirts of Dallas features unique touches such as a servant bell board reminiscent of the one seen in Downton AbbeyThe five bedroom home, which sits on six-acres of land was built in 2017, and is set to enter to market for...

Suella Braverman, UK interior minister, to raise ‘unsustainable’ migration pressures during U.S. visit

Home Secretary Suella Braverman walks on Downing Street on the day of a cabinet meeting, in London, Britain September 5, 2023 REUTERS/Peter Nicholls/File Photo Acquire Licensing RightsLONDON, Sept 24 (Reuters) - British interior minister Suella Braverman will raise the "the unsustainable pressures" created by illegal...

UK’s Braverman Seeks US Support for ‘Blueprint’ on Migration

UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman will travel to Washington on Monday to meet with the heads of the Department of Justice and Homeland Security as she seeks support for the British government’s hardline anti-migration push.Braverman will meet Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas and Attorney General...

College football scores, updates: Deion Sanders, Colorado blown out by Oregon

Week 4 brings the most loaded college football slate in recent memory with six ranked-on-ranked matchups and that doesn't even include a Florida State-Clemson game that had everyone on the edge of their seats.In one of the marquee games of the day, No. 10 Oregon absolutely...

College football scores, games, updates: Deion Sanders, Colorado trailing early at Oregon

By now, you already know what's in store today. Week 4 brings the most loaded college football slate in recent memory with six ranked-on-ranked matchups and that doesn't even include a Florida State-Clemson game that had everyone on the edge of their seats early in the...

2023 GABF Results | Which Breweries Won Big At This Year’s Competition?

In its second year back after COVID, the Great American Beer Festival certainly felt a bit different on all fronts. As we noted from our day one recap, attendance to the fest felt significantly down compared to previous years and the competition portion saw a...

Union Deal With Ford Could Put Pressure on Other 2 Detroit Automakers

The Detroit automakers and the United Automobile Workers continued to negotiate on Saturday, company representatives said, a day after the union expanded strikes in a way that could curtail the supply of spare parts for vehicles made by General Motors and Stellantis, which owns Jeep and...