For drivers with disabilities, a trip to the gas station is inconvenient at best and dangerous at worst, but we are starting to see – on a rather small level but significant nonetheless – more counties take action to make fueling up less of a hassle.

Not long ago, we posted about the change to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regarding the reach heights of operable parts at pumping stations that went into effect March 15. This change updated the 1990 rule that stated gas stations must provide refueling assistance without extra charges and let patrons know that assistance is available. The new change to the Act is meant to give those with disabilities the independence to pump their own gas, but it may still be difficult and dangerous for drivers with disabilities to refuel even with these lower, more accessible buttons. This is why some counties have adapted laws requiring stations to display placards at pumps carrying the International Symbol of Accessibility logo – the white wheelchair on a blue background – with a number to call to get an attendant; intercom systems could be used as well.

Both Hillsborough County and Broward County in Florida have implemented this law stating that it’s easy and inexpensive to work in. One gas station owner spent about $100 on the placards and gets about four to five requests a week. He says the implementation was easy and simple and is something that needs to be done everywhere.

These county mandates are a step beyond the requirements already found in the new ADA law and eliminate the danger that comes with unloading a wheelchair or ramp. It also helps those who do not have strong controlling abilities to use the pump hose or nozzles at self-serve gas pumps. These laws are clearly a great way to help those in need at pumping stations and should be implemented throughout the US and Canada; what are your thoughts? Would you like to see this law in your area?

For more information, call the Dept. of Justice’s ADA Information Line at (800) 514-0301 (voice) or (800) 514-0383 (TDD).

The National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) is an advocate for mobility and accessibility for drivers with disabilities. If you need help with converting or buying a handicap accessible car, truck or van, please consider one of our mobility equipment dealers.

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