Dec. 29, 2020
WASHINGTON—Chairman of the National Council on Disability (NCD) applauded National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) leaders regarding recent actions to improve accessibility for people with disabilities.
In a letter to Deputy Administrator James Owens, NCD Chairman Neil Romano expressed his appreciation, and that of the Council, for NHTSA's recent publication of a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking.
In the letter, he noted NHTSA’s “Make Inoperative Exemptions; Vehicle Modifications to Accommodate People with Disabilities,” would be an incremental but important step forward for drivers who use wheelchairs or otherwise rely on hand controls to operate a car or truck.
Chairmano Romano not only endorsed the rule, but requested consideration of an interim final rule or other step to make the language effective immediately.
"With the COVID-19 situation having reduced the availability and desirability of transit services, it is even more important that driving be an alternative option for persons with disabilities. The actions your agency proposes seem like common sense moves to help improve safety and accessibility, but particularly so during these challenging times.
Chairman Romano stressed the importance of deliberative processes, but added that in this case, "it makes sense to act right away" on an interim basis while the rule is finalized.
"This will serve both the safety of the driving public and improved accessibility to driving options for persons with disabilities," he wrote.
Read the letter at NCD.gov.