Resources for Transportation Issues
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Paratransit is comparable transportation service required by the ADA for individuals with disabilities who are unable to use fixed route transportation systems.
Americans with Disabilities Act Paratransit Eligibility Manual - from the Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA), Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), National Transportation Library
Disability Rights California - an organization that works in partnership with people with disabilities, offers several publications dealing with individuals with disabilities and transportation. For more information see the Disability Rights California website.
The right to a driver's license is not absolute, and licensing standards vary from state to state. In California, an individual with a physical or mental disability may not be refused a driver's license if it is decided by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) that the disability does not affect the individual's ability to operate a vehicle.
California law provides special parking privileges to individuals with disabilities who drive. In order to take advantage of most of these privileges, the vehicle of a person with a disability must display either a distinguishing license plate or distinguishing placard, both of which can be obtained on a permanent or temporary basis from the DMV. (Cal. Veh. Code, § 22511.55 et seq.)
Parking spaces identified with blue curb paint are exclusively for the use of people with disabilities. (Cal. Veh. Code, § 21458 (a)(5).)
Local authorities generally decide where special parking spaces will be located. In addition to designating reserved parking spaces on streets and in public lots, local authorities may require private parking facilities which are open to the public to reserve a certain number of spaces for the vehicles of people with disabilities. Any parking facility controlled by a State agency must reserve a certain number of spaces. If a State agency does not have its own parking facility, the agency must ask local authorities to reserve on-street spaces immediately adjacent to the agency property for the use of individuals with disabilities. (Cal. Veh. Code, §§ 21107.8, 22511.7 and 22511.8; Gov. Code, § 14679.)
In addition to parking in reserved spaces, all vehicles which display distinguishing license plates or placards may park without limit in restricted time parking spaces, and in metered spaces without paying, although vehicles displaying disabled placards reported lost or stolen, or which are otherwise invalid may be cited. (Cal. Veh. Code, §§ 22511.5, 22511.57, and 22652.6; certain red, yellow and white zones are not included.)
Individuals with disabilities must still observe parking regulations that prohibit all stopping, parking or standing, or which reserve spaces for special types of vehicles. (Cal. Veh. Code, § 22511.5.) Vehicle Code § 42001.5 requires the court to impose a fine of not less than $250 on any person convicted of specified parking violations, which can only be suspended if the person convicted possessed a placard or plate, but failed to display it. A court can suspend all but $100 of a fine imposed for blocking a disabled access curb or ramp.
In California, service stations are required to provide refueling services if a vehicle displays a DMV issued disabled/disabled veterans plates or placard and if the person with the disability asks for assistance. Exemptions from this requirement include only one employee on duty or two employees on duty, but one of which is assigned sole to the preparation of food. Stations are required to post signage indicating that they provide the refueling service as well as signs alerting customers when they cannot provide the service based on a lawful exemption. (Business and Profession Code § 13660)
The Air Carrier Access Act (MS Word) prohibits discrimination in air transportation by domestic and foreign air carriers against qualified individuals with physical or mental impairments. It applies only to air carriers that provide regularly scheduled services for hire to the public. Requirements address a wide range of issues including boarding assistance and certain accessibility features in newly built aircraft and new or altered airport facilities.