WASHINGTON – The Justice Department announced that the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design go into effect today. On July 26, 2010, the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), President Obama announced newly revised ADA regulations. These regulations reflect the fundamental principle that all Americans with disabilities should have equal access and an equal right to participate fully in our society.
“People with disabilities should have the opportunity to participate in American society as fully and equally as those without disabilities,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The department encourages businesses and governments around the country to help break down barriers for people with disabilities so that we give every individual access to equal opportunity and equal justice.”
These standards were adopted as part of the revised regulations for Title II and Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and will make buildings and facilities accessible to more than 54 million Americans with disabilities. The standards can be found at www.ada.gov/2010ADAstandards_index.htm.
The 2010 Standards will set new requirements for fixed or built-in elements in facilities such as detention facilities and courtrooms, amusement rides, boating facilities, golf and miniature golf facilities, swimming pools and play areas. These rules also clarify and refine issues that have arisen over the past 20 years, including reach ranges, toilet room dimensions and accessible routes. The 2010 Standards provide clarified requirements for dispersal and lines of sight for accessible seating and companion seating in assembly areas such as stadiums. The 2010 Standards also address dispersion of accessible hotel rooms among the different classes of rooms provided, as well as the overlap between wheelchair accessible rooms and rooms with communication features.
The final regulations were published in the Federal Register on Sept. 15, 2010. The 2010 Standards, which were adopted as part of the revised regulations, consist of regulatory text and the 2004 ADA Accessibility Guidelines, originally published in the Federal Register as 36 CFR Part 1191, Appendices B and D.
Title II of the ADA protects people with disabilities from discrimination on the basis of disability in services, programs and activities provided by state and local government entities.
Title III prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by places of public accommodation (businesses that are generally open to the public and that fall into one of 12 categories listed in the ADA, such as restaurants, movie theaters, schools, day care facilities, recreational facilities and doctors’ offices).
Newly constructed or altered places of public accommodation, commercial facilities and state and local government facilities are required to comply with the ADA Standards. Places of public accommodation in existing facilities are required to remove accessibility barriers to the extent it is readily achievable – meaning easy to accomplish without much difficulty or expense. State and local governments using existing facilities are required to ensure their programs, services and activities, when viewed in their entirety, are accessible.
Requirements for existing swimming pools will be extended for 60 days. The department will also publish a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking with a 15-day comment period on a possible six-month extension in order to allow additional time to address misunderstandings regarding compliance with these ADA requirements. More information on pool requirements can be found at http://www.ada.gov/pools_2010.htm.
People interested in finding out more about the ADA or the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design can call the toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 (Voice) or 800-514-0383 (TTY), or access the ADA website at www.ada.gov.