ADA Anniversary: After 20 years roadblocks still remain

Published: July 20, 2010  |  Source: ktiv.com
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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) – Tuesday, Angie Plager, president of the Iowa Spinal Cord Injury Association demonstrated “FuelCall,” a device that alerts HyVee gas station attendants when a disabled driver pulls up to the pump.

It’s the latest effort by a private company to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, helping people like Plager, one of 10 million American drivers who suffer a handicap get around without limitations.

“To have this assistance readily available at my convenience is life changing,” said Plager.

The ADA has literally opened doors for millions of people. Known as a sort of “bill of rights” for the disabled, it requires equal access to everything from buildings to jobs.

“For the most part, most businesses and companies have found a way to have reasonable accommodations that really weren’t that expensive,” noted Doug Moravek, manager of the Three Rivers Independent Living Center in Sioux City, which helps handicapped people assimilate into society.

However, disability advocates say barriers remain.

“People with disabilities are excluded in a many ways, and that’s not to say that all of those are deliberate,” explained Moravek.

One of the biggest is transportation.

“Whether or not I can get into this building won’t matter if I can’t get there,” Moravek pointed out.

Access was something Plager didn’t even think about before a car accident left her paralyzed seven years ago.

“The ADA didn’t really have any role in my life,” she said.

That’s exactly why she and other advocates are making sure the public’s aware of the needs and the rights of the disabled.

HyVee has installed “FuelCall” in 48 of its gas stations, including 24 in Iowa. There’s one at the HyVee by the Southern Hills Mall in Sioux City.

Moms and dads of infants can also use the free service, not only to have their gas pumped, but purchase items from the convenience store.

Reporter: Kristen Johnson