Your Guide To Becoming ADA Compliant

What Does ADA Mean and How Do You Become ADA Compliant?

Paper with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on a table

Are you ADA compliant? Do you even know what compliance means for a business or transportation services? More than that, do you want to ensure that everyone has access to your services, including people with disabilities?

What does ADA mean? Here is our primer to become ADA compatible.

What Does ADA Mean?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a 1990 civil rights act that prohibits discrimination of people with disabilities. One of the main purposes of the law is to ensure that everyone has the same opportunities.

It guarantees equal opportunities in a number of areas, including:

  • Public places
  • Employment
  • Transportation
  • State and local government services
  • Telecommunications

There are five “Titles” that cover the various areas within ADA law:

  • Title I – Relates to equal opportunity when it comes to employment
  • Title II – Relates to non-discrimination in state and local government services
  • Title III – Relates to public accommodations in commercial facilities for people with disabilities
  • Title IV – Relates to accommodations when it comes to telecommunications services such as telephones and internet
  • Title V – Relates to provisions that apply to ADA as a whole and how they relate to other laws

A second law, the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) passed in 2008. This law redefined what constitutes a “disability”. The changes were applied to all ADA Titles.

Who is Responsible for Complying?

Does ADA compliance apply to your business or service? The government established several guidelines to determine who must comply.

  • Any business with more than 15 employees
  • Landlords and tenants of a business
  • State and local government services
  • Public education and social services (schools, state legislatures, courts, town meetings, police/fire departments, employment services, public transportation, etc.)
  • Commercial facilities (restaurants, hotels, museums, doctor’s offices, convention centers/arenas, etc.)
  • Businesses that serve the public are required to remove physical barriers. Private homes and residential apartments are exempt from the law.

How to be ADA Compliant

There are a number of steps you must take in order to be (or remain) ADA compliant.

1. Employment Practices

You cannot discriminate against people with disabilities when it comes to hiring. For instance, you cannot exclude someone from consideration because of a disability. You also can’t require applicants to undergo a medical examination.

However, you can ask questions to determine whether someone is able to perform particular functions related to the job.

You must also provide reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities. This might apply to physical barriers, but also accommodations when it comes to a modified work schedule, a restructuring of job functions or providing interpreters.

2. Parking Lots and Entryways

The parking lot of your business must have designated handicapped spaces. The size and number of spaces relate to the size of the lot itself.

  • For a lot with less than 25 spaces, you should have at least one handicapped space.
  • Lots with 25-50 spaces must have two handicapped spaces.
  • For large lots, at least one of every eight spaces must be handicapped.
  • The spaces must be van accessible, with at least an 8-foot wide access aisle and a vertical clearance of 98 inches around the whole space.
  • There must be at least one wheelchair-accessible entrance to your business. This could be a slope, ramp or lift platform.

3. Doors and Indoor Spaces

Doorways must be at least 36 inches wide in order to accommodate wheelchairs. Even the type of door handle can pose problems for people with disabilities. Loop-type handles, lever handles, and open gates are best.

Aisles or hallways should be at least 36 inches wide, with added space for corners. A 60-inch turning space is required if someone in a wheelchair is required to make a U-turn in an aisle.

Counters should include a wheelchair-accessible section that is at least 36 inches long x 36 inches wide.

4. Public and Private Transportation Services

Title III of the ADA rules applies to “places of public accommodation” or businesses that serve the public. Transportation services are included in these provisions.

Any private or public entity that provides transportation services must comply with ADA laws. This might include buses, shuttle vans, and taxis.

Your website and mobile apps must be accessible to people with disabilities as well.

This might include:

  • Access to information regarding fares, policies, safety protocols, and FAQs
  • Access to schedules & services
  • Access to online booking services
  • Access to payment solutions for tickets or passes
  • A way to submit forms, ask questions and send messages

5. Accessible Ground Transportation

ADA rules also apply to transportation services that are regulated by the Department of Transportation (Title II). The law applies to public entities that contract with a private service provider and helps ensure that both parties are ADA compliant.

Compliance Rules:

  • Rider information – Information must be provided in multiple accessible formats to accommodate people with different disabilities.
  • Assistance equipment – This may include ramps, lifts, securement devices, signage, and communication devices.
  • Seating accommodations – This includes designated priority seating on all fixed-route systems, including at least one forward-facing seat.
  • Adequate time to board and exit.
  • Allowances for service animals – Service animals include guide dogs, signal dogs, and any other animal that offers assistance to someone with a disability.
  • Operator training – Provide adequate training for personnel to ensure they are able to operate equipment and assist individuals with disabilities.

Government-operated ground transportation services must also comply with online and mobile app accommodations.

Ensure You Are ADA Compliant

As a business, you could face serious consequences for ADA non-compliance. There is the possibility of fines and lawsuits. You will also have to pay to make any updates or changes in order to become compliant.

BraunAbility offers quality ADA-compliant commercial wheelchair lifts, wheelchair vans, and ramps for entities that provide transportation services. These transportation solutions can be applied to transit buses, school buses, taxi, rideshare services, and paratransit vans. 

Contact us or search for a commercial dealer near you.

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