Coalition formed to expand accessibility at the pump

The United Spinal Association and the Paralyzed Veterans of America have teamed up to demand that the nation’s 159,000 gas stations begin meeting their obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act to manually assist drivers requiring assistance filling their gas tanks.

Gas Pump
Accessibility at the Gas Station

“For many drivers with disabilities traveling away from home, when it comes time to refuel, they are not sure what they will encounter–whether they will find a station with attendants that will assist them or whether they will have to drive around on fumes in frustration,” said Paul J. Tobin, president and CEO of United Spinal Association, in a news release.

As part of the newly created Disability Gas Coalition, the advocacy groups have created a forum for people to post videos and share stories of their challenges and experiences waiting to be accommodated at the gas stations.

For various financial reasons, the vast majority of gas stations nationwide have switched from a full-service model to a self-service model during the past two decades. As a result, it has become arguably more difficult for people in wheelchairs, or whom have other disabilities, to receive prompt assistance at gas stations, despite the ADA’s requirement that self-service gas stations always have two employees on hand.

A myriad of lawsuits have led to some additional accommodations, such as the addition of new signage, “help” buttons, and regulations regarding the height of the pump buttons.

However, the Disability Gas Coalition is urging gas stations to designate well-identified pumps for drivers with disabilities, provide clear signage to inform drivers when there may be only one employee on duty, install oversized touch pads that drivers can reach from their car seats and the creation of a nationally accessible database for further assistance.

“This can be fixed! It is possible to respect the need of gas station owners to be efficient and economical in offering service that is legally required, and at the same time support transactions where drivers with disabilities are not treated as a nuisance, but instead as a customer,” the Coalition states on its website.

More news reports and videos featuring drivers experiences can be viewed here.