passenger wheelchair regulations

US Transportation Department Proposes Improvements on Passenger Wheelchair Regulations

The US Department of Transportation proposes regulations that would improve passenger wheelchair regulations. This new proposal aims to make airlines more responsible for how they handle passenger wheelchairs. 

This effort is aimed at improving the overall experience of people with disabilities. Under the proposed passenger wheelchair regulations, airlines that would damage or delay the return of a wheelchair will automatically violate a federal law that prohibits airlines from discriminating against people with disabilities. 

Improved Passenger Wheelchair Regulations 

The agency said that this would allow them to penalize airlines when they mishandle wheelchairs. This will also require airlines to train workers who have to physically assist disabled patients or handle wheelchairs. 

DOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement, “There are millions of Americans with disabilities who do not travel by plane because of inadequate airline practices and inadequate government regulation, but now we are setting out to change that.”

He added, “This new rule would change the way airlines operate to ensure that travelers using wheelchairs can travel safely and with dignity.” 

Over 11,000 Wheelchairs Mishandled 

According to the Transportation Department, airlines collectively mishandled over 11,000 wheelchairs and scooters last year. 

This wasn’t the only time the Biden administration intended to improve passenger wheelchair regulations. In 2022, the DOT published the bill of rights for passengers with disabilities. Last year, the agency also finalized new regulations that required airlines to provide more accessible bathrooms on commercial aircraft. 

Carl Blake, the chief executive of Paralyzed Veterans of America, noted that he never met a member of his organization who flew and had not experienced their wheelchair being damaged at one point. Blake said that the problem urgently needs a solution. He also emphasized the importance of new regulations that will hold airlines accountable. He said “A rule with no enforcement is no rule at all.” 


John Michael Jayme
John Michael Jayme
John Michael Jayme is a Travel Analyst for The Jet Set. He writes about news and events affecting the travel industry.


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