Nebraska Safety Center University of Nebraska – Kearney ADA Regulations Disability Awareness Passenger Assistance The ADA is an extensive civil rights law designed to remove barriers that prevent individuals with disabilities from enjoying the same opportunities that are available to persons without disabilities. The law requires that all buses have an accessible entrance, securement areas and securement systems. The ADA requires operators to assist and to be courteous to passengers with disabilities and also to permit service animals on the vehicles. Disabled According to the ADA, disability is defined with respect to an individual as: “A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual; a record of such impairment; or being regarded as having such impairment.” Myth: • All persons with disabilities are handicapped and or crippled. Fact: • A disability does not always present a handicap; rather it often only means that a person with a disability will occasionally ask for help as all of us do every now and again. Service may be refused to an individual with a disability because that the person engages in violent, seriously disruptive, or illegal conduct. Service may not be refused solely because the individual’s disability results in appearance or involuntary behavior that may offend, annoy, or inconvenience employees or other passengers of the transit system. (49CFR 37.5(h)) The transit system is not required to enforce a request for nondisabled, or nonelderly, passengers to move from priority seating areas or wheelchair securement locations. ( 37.167(j)(3)) The ADA requires service to be provided to one person accompanying the passenger, with others served on a space-available basis. This one person rides even if this means there is less room for other passengers. Transport any mobility device that fits on the lift or ramp and within the “envelope” for securement. Assist passengers with disabilities with the use of the lift or ramp, and with securement of their mobility device. The passenger cannot refuse securement of their mobility device. (37.165 (c)(3)) If the mobility device absolutely cannot be secured using the existing securement system, explain to the passenger that they are not secured. The transit provider may not deny transportation to a wheelchair or its user on the grounds that the device cannot be secured or restrained satisfactorily by the vehicle’s securement system. • Therefore, if the passenger still wants to be transported, you must transport them. (37.165(d)) Permit passengers with disabilities to travel with respirators or a portable oxygen supply. Permit all service animals to accompany passengers with disabilities on your vehicle. On a vehicle which uses a ramp for entry, the operator may have to leave the seat and assist in pushing a manual wheelchair up the ramp (37.165) Allow passengers with disabilities to board the lift either forward or backward. You cannot require passengers with disabilities to: Transfer from a Use designated mobility device seats if the to a regular individual does seat not want to. Have a personal care attendant. Service Animals Included in the ADA regulations is the right of a person traveling with a service animal to have equal access to public transportation accommodations. The ADA defines service animals in the following way: • Any animal that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, or intellectual, or other mental disability. Service Animals The ADA prohibits questions about the nature of the person’s disability. However, transits systems may ask two questions to determine whether an animal qualifies as a service animal. • You may ask if the animal is required because of a disability • You may ask what work or task the animal has been trained to perform. The ADA does not specifically mention requirements for service animal identification, training, or animals in training. Therefore, it is illegal to require a person with a service animal to provide proof. A passenger should never have to ask for assistance because the driver failed to offer it. Handicapped or Disabled The term “handicapped” is not the same as “disabled”. Handicap is a condition or barrier imposed by society, the environment or one’s own self. The words we use are powerful. This is especially true when it comes to the words we use when talking with or about people with disabilities. The way we refer to other people can either show respect or be a “put down”. Appropriate Terminology Disabled handicapped non-disabled able-bodied Use: Instead of: congenital disability birth defect does not speak mute or dumb Hearing-impaired Partially sighted Proper Terminology Speech impaired Blind People who are… Persons with Communication Tips Offer assistance Treat adults as adults Do not be condescending If you do not understand the passenger, do not pretend that you did Driver Requirements Must use the accessibility related equipment in the vehicle. Allow adequate time for passengers with disabilities to board and exit the vehicle. Permit passengers with disabilities who do not use wheelchairs, including standees, to use the lift. Operate the lift and or ramp at all stops when needed or requested. A driver is responsible for: Assisting passengers both in and out of the vehicle. Being close by to assist these individuals should assistance be needed. Helping passengers get on or off the vehicle requires some judgment. It may be safer, and faster, to request the passenger use the lift. Remember; in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the passenger may stand on the lift. The driver is the most important asset. Most important person is the customer. Without the customer, there is not agency. Follow three basic skills Provide safe, reliable and expert service. Be courteous and patient. Avoid Arguments Passenger Benefits Your Benefits Safe transportation Treated more pleasantly = Passengers willingly follow your directions Respect as a professional = Comfortable transportation Reliable transportation The DOT definition of a wheelchair is The ADA no longer uses the term “common wheelchair ” Valuable to the user as the body part or function it has replaced • a mobility aid belonging to any class of three – or more – wheeled devices, usable indoors, designed or modified for and used by individuals with mobility impairments, whether operated manually or powered. • The requirements for lift platforms, and wheelchair spaces specify the appropriate dimensions for wheelchairs. • Any device used by individuals with disabilities for mobility must fit an envelope which is 30 inches wide by 48 inches long. • Wheelchair is part, or extension, of their own body Because of the design of most of the scooters, we discourage letting people ride inside the vehicle while sitting on the scooter However, according to ADA, we must transport a passenger with a commonly used mobility device and cannot require them to transfer to a seat. You may request that the rider transfer to a passenger seat, however if they refuse, you must allow them to ride the scooter. Section 38.23(d) of the DOT ADA regulation requires all ADA – compliant vehicles to have a two–part securement system: One to secure the wheelchair, and a seatbelt and shoulder harness for the wheelchair user The securement system shall limit the movement of an occupied wheelchair or mobility aid to no more than 2 inches in any direction under normal vehicle operating conditions. 38(d)(5) Do not take shortcuts, remember, the passengers sense of security is of extreme importance. Requirements under the ADA Under the broad nondiscrimination provisions in the DOT ADA regulations, a transit operator is not permitted to require the use of seat belt and shoulder harnesses by wheelchair users, unless the operator requires the use of these devices by all passengers. On a fixed route bus, if none of the passengers are required to wear seat or shoulder belt then neither can the person using a wheelchair be required to do so. • Drivers are responsible for assisting passengers both in and out of the vehicle. Driver Responsibility • No passenger will be allowed to leave the vehicle unescorted at any time. • Assist passengers who cannot put on their own seatbelts • The vehicle should not be taken out of park until all passengers, and drivers are wearing their seat belts. We are responsible for: • Assisting passengers, if necessary, with keys and opening the door. • Taking grocery bags to the door of the building. We are not responsible for: • • • • • Safekeeping of passengers keys. Dressing passengers. Helping passengers out of bed. Turning off their stove. Putting food in the refrigerator. There are two reasons you should not enter the passengers home: First, there is a significant amount of exposure and risk to entering a passengers home. Second, there will be times when you have other passengers who were still in the vehicle. Because you are responsible for them, you cannot leave the line of sight of the vehicle. Your Role to Other Agencies If you observe any changes in behavior or well-being, make sure you report them to the dispatcher or respective center agency staff. If you ever suspect abuse is occurring to a passenger you need to report that abuse to your supervisor. Your supervisor can assist you in determining whether a particular event or observation warrants a full report. If you are in doubt ask. Blood-borne pathogens are viruses or other infectious agents carried by the blood. The pathogens include, but are not limited to, Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Universal Precautions Treat all blood and body fluids as potentially infectious for HIV, HBV, hepatitis C virus (HCV) and other pathogens Each vehicle should be equipped with a biohazard kit Hepatitis A (HAV) Hepatitis A is a virus spread by infected feces that contaminate food or drinking water and infects approximately 35,000 people in the United States each year. Hepatitis B (HBV) Hepatitis B is a virus that causes serious liver disease, and is sometimes fatal. HBV is transmitted by contact with blood or body fluids of an infected person. HBV can be found in: • Saliva • Semen • Urine • And feces of infected persons At this time there is no cure for HBV. However, there is a vaccine that can prevent infection. Hepatitis C (HCV) Like HBV, HCV is a viral infection of the liver. It causes inflammation of the liver and is the leading reason for liver transplants in the United States. Hepatitis C is spread by: • Unprotected sexual contact • Injection drug use • Exposure to infected blood It is NOT spread to another person through casual contact. It is a blood – to – blood transmission Human Immunodeficiency Virus HIV Develops into AIDS AIDS attacks the immune system Transmitted by blood Currently no cure An Aging Society People are living longer today than ever before. Having the freedom to get around in the community is equally as important. Driving the elderly is a very personal service. Drivers may see the same people day after day, month after month. Older people depend on you as their driver. For someone who lives alone, a long ride in a car, van or bus may be a social event. Communication Economic condition Social condition Be aware of the following conditions that may indicate an older rider is in trouble: Emotional health Personal appearance Physical limitations Condition of home If you see any of the above conditions, particularly if they have changed, notify your supervisor. Suggest that your supervisor may want to notify the local office on aging of the situation Never ignore something out of the ordinary When dropping people at senior centers or at a doctor’s office, do not assume that others will notice what you have observed Alert staff immediately Sexual Harassment • Unreasonably interfering with an individual work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment including, but not limited to: • Gender harassment • Seductive behavior • Sexual bribery • Sexual assault Passengers may be friendly and anxious to meet you, or they may be shy and withdrawn. How you act, or do not act, will be interpreted by your passengers in ways that you may not have intended. Appropriate vs. Inappropriate For example, holding the hand of a passenger when assisting boarding and exiting the vehicle may be interpreted as a sexual overture. Do not become socially involved with your passengers.