Saturday, March 31, 2012

New Improvements in Accessibility for the Disabled

“People with disabilities should have the opportunity to participate in American society as fully and equally as those without disabilities.”   --Thomas E. Perez, Assistant, Att Gen for the Civil Rights Division

The 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design went into effect on March 15, 2012, as announced  by the Justice Department. These standards were adopted as part of the revised regulations for DA Title II and Title III of the ADA of 1990 and will make buildings and facilities accessible to more than 54 million Americans with disabilities. 

Title II protects people with disabilities from discrimination on the basis of disability in services, programs and activities provided by state and local government entities. Title III prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by places of public accommodation (businesses that are generally open to the public and that fall into one of 12 categories listed in the ADA, such as restaurants, movie theaters, schools, day care facilities, recreational facilities and doctors’ offices).

The department encourages businesses and governments around the country to help break down barriers for people with disabilities so that every individual has access to equal opportunity and equal justice.

The 2010 Standards will set new requirements for fixed or built-in elements in facilities such as detention facilities and courtrooms, amusement rides, boating facilities, golf and miniature golf facilities, swimming pools and play areas. These rules also clarify and refine issues that have arisen over the past 20 years, including reach ranges, toilet room dimensions and accessible routes. The 2010 Standards provide clarified requirements for dispersal and lines of sight for accessible seating and companion seating in assembly areas such as stadiums. The 2010 Standards also address dispersion of accessible hotel rooms among the different classes of rooms provided, as well as the overlap between wheelchair accessible rooms and rooms with communication features.

The standards can be found here. If you are interested in finding out more about the ADA or the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, you can call the ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 (Voice) or 800-514-0383 (TTY), or access the ADA website at