New DOT regulations apply reasonable accommodation standard to transportation entities

New Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations became effective on July 13, 2015. The new regulations apply the “reasonable accommodation” standard to public and private entities offering fixed and paratransit services to individuals with disabilities.

The regulations require covered entities to implement reasonable accommodations in polices, practices and procedures to allow individuals with disabilities to use the services. Some public and private entities have already operated under this standard, but for some it will be a change.

There are two big changes under the regulations. First, drivers will now be required to offer a higher level of assistance to passengers outside of the vehicle. Second, covered entities must implement written polices and procedures to handle requests for modifications and complaints from passengers arising from denials of requests.

These regulations have been developing for almost nine years.  The first notice of proposed rulemaking was issued in 2006. There was a lot of feedback from public and private entities with many concerns raised over the safety of drivers and passengers, increased litigation and increased workers’ compensation claims.

To review a copy of new regulations click here