Federal officers are eyeing new guidelines requiring airways to accommodate passengers with disabilities of their private wheelchairs on flights. (Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Occasions/TNS)

Efforts are underway to permit individuals with disabilities to stay in their very own wheelchairs whereas touring by air.

Presently people utilizing wheelchairs should switch to a daily plane seat when flying, which could be difficult and harmful. In 2021 alone, federal information exhibits that U.S. airways mishandled greater than 7,200 wheelchairs and scooters.

However now the U.S. Division of Transportation is working towards issuing guidelines that might require airways to accommodate vacationers of their wheelchairs, which are sometimes custom-made to satisfy their wants.

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“No different type of transportation — trains, buses, boats — forces you to surrender your mobility system while you board. The identical must be true of airways,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg mentioned throughout a current occasion. “So, within the months and years forward, we plan to file a brand new rule that can permit passengers to remain of their private wheelchairs once they fly. We all know this received’t occur in a single day, however it’s a aim that we’ve got to work to satisfy.”

Within the subsequent yr, the Transportation Division says that it’s going to set up a analysis roadmap to help future rulemaking to handle the problem. This may construct on a 2021 report from the Nationwide Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Drugs’s Transportation Analysis Board that seemed on the technical feasibility of securing wheelchairs on airplanes, the company mentioned. That report confirmed that design and technical challenges could possibly be overcome, however extra testing is required to make sure the security and crashworthiness of secured wheelchairs.

The trouble to permit vacationers to fly of their wheelchairs is simply the newest transfer from the Transportation Division to enhance accessibility in business air journey.

In March, the company proposed a rule that might require accessible bathrooms on extra airplanes. And final month the division issued a first-ever “invoice of rights” for air vacationers with disabilities.

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