ADA law: Disabled drivers supposed to get help pumping gas
Source: San Jose Mercury News
By Gary Peterson, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Americans With Disabilities Act has rules for gas stations when it comes to serving their customers with disabilities.
Effective March 15, 2012, any gas pump where someone has to reach more than 54 inches above the ground to use it will be in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), putting the station owner at risk of fines or lawsuits. On newly constructed pumps or alterations to existing pump islands, everything has to be below 48 inches.
Operable parts include the credit card reader, the fuel grade selection button and any buttons that request help.
The 2012 change updates ADA’s 1990 rule which required self-serve gas stations to provide equal access to their customers with disabilities and states gas stations must:
1. Provide refueling assistance upon the request of an individual with a disability. A service station or convenience store is not required to provide such service at any time that it is operating on a remote control basis with a single employee, but is encouraged to do so, if feasible.
2. Let patrons know (e.g., through appropriate signs) that customers with disabilities can obtain refueling assistance by using a call button, honking or otherwise signaling an employee.
3. Provide the refueling assistance without any charge beyond the self-serve price.
The ADA also requires an effective communication method between the convenience store operator and the pump. Some stations have implemented new button systems that are easier for drivers to alert staff they need assistance.
According to the Department of Justice, station owners in violation could be fined more than $50,000 for a first offense.
The DOJ is putting more emphasis on compliance, but enforcement will likely be complaint driven. For more information, call the Dept. of Justice’s ADA Information Line at (800) 514-0301 (voice) or (800) 514-0383 (TDD).
Contact Gary Peterson at 925-952-5053. Follow him at Twitter.com/garyscribe.