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Saint Louis, Mo.  63131

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Public Accommodations and Universally Designed Mobility Devices

The Segway is a Universally Designed technology that was not developed for use by the disabled, but has proven over the last 12 years to be an amazing life changing tool for those with mobility disabilities. The Segway is recognized by the Americans with Disabilities Act Title III as a OPDMD or Other Power Driven Mobility Device. 

An OPDMD is defined by the Department of Justice in the new rules that went into effect on March 15, 2011 as "any mobility device powered by batteries, fuel, or other engines… that is used by individuals with mobility disabilities for the purpose of locomotion, including golf cars, electronic personal assistance mobility devices… such as the Segway® PT, or any mobility device designed to operate in areas without defined pedestrian routes, but that is not a wheelchair". When an OPDMD is being used by a person with a mobility disability, different rules apply under the ADA than when it is being used by a person without a disability.

The Department of Justice goes on to say that OPDMD's must be allowed "unless a particular type of device cannot be accommodated because of legitimate safety requirements. Such safety requirements must be based on actual risks, not on speculation or stereotypes about a particular type of device or how it might be operated by people with disabilities using them". People with disabilities have the right to chose the device that best suits their specific disabilities.

Although protection is afforded by the ADA you may still be refused access to various types of activities due to your use of a OPDMD. These instances of Denial of Access must be reported, and DRAFT advocates are here to help you. The ADA is a civil rights law and each case is specific in nature. If you are faced with Denial of Access it is important to gather as many facts at the time to ensure that you report it to the proper enforcement agency.

When you are being denied access due to your use of an OPDMD, get as much information from the person denying access. The information that is very important in filing a complaint is:

  1. Date and time of denial

  2. Organization name and address

  3. First and last name of person denying access

  4. Get as much information on why specifically they are denying you access because of your OPDMD, and what their policy is on OPDMD. If possible ask for a copy of their policy.

  5. Contact info or buisness card from person who is denying access.

ADA Title II (State and Local Government)

Title II is enforced by Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, the Federal Railroad Administration, and the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Title II of the ADA prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in all programs, activities, and services of public entities. It applies to all state and local governments, their departments and agencies, and any other instrumentalities or special purpose districts of state or local governments. It clarifies the requirements of section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, for public transportation systems that receive federal financial assistance, and extends coverage to all public entities that provide public transportation, whether or not they receive federal financial assistance. It establishes detailed standards for the operation of public transit systems, including commuter and intercity rail (e.g., AMTRAK). This title outlines the administrative processes to be followed, including requirements for self-evaluation and planning; requirements for making reasonable modifications to policies, practices, and procedures where necessary to avoid discrimination; architectural barriers to be identified; and the need for effective communication with people with hearing, vision and speech disabilities. This title is regulated and enforced by the U.S. Department of Justice.

ADA Title III (Public Accommodations)

Title III is enforced by the Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division

Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability by Public Accommodations and in Commercial Facilities 

This title prohibits private places of public accommodation from discriminating against individuals with disabilities. Examples of public accommodations include privately-owned, leased or operated facilities like hotels, restaurants, retail merchants, doctor’s offices, golf courses, private schools, day care centers, health clubs, sports stadiums, movie theaters, and so on.  This title sets the minimum standards for accessibility for alterations and new construction of facilities. It also requires public accommodations to remove barriers in existing buildings where it is easy to do so without much difficulty or expense.  This title directs businesses to make "reasonable modifications" to their usual ways of doing things when serving people with disabilities. It also requires that they take steps necessary to communicate effectively with customers with vision, hearing, and speech disabilities.  This title is regulated and enforced by the U.S. Department of Justice.

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Denial of Access due to the specific use of an OPDMD
What agency is responsible for enforcement?

Several factors come into play when reporting denial of access under the ADA, these factors include:

  1. How is the facility used?

  2. Who owns the property?

  3. Does the owner recieve federal financial assistance?

  4. Who is responsible for enforcement?

Filing a complaint for Denial of Access

It is important when filing a complaint with the Department of Justice to contact us also for advocacy. The Department of Justice does not track complaints according to device type. It is important for us to know the amount and types of complaints when advocating for changes in public policy. We may also be able to advocate on your behalf with the organization that has denied access due to your choice of mobility device, and help to gain you access to that location. To report your denial of access to DRAFT, please complete the form on the contact us page of the website, and a DRAFT advocate will be with you shortly. To fill out a online complaint click on the link below, and you will be directed to the DOJ online complaint reporting system. If you are unsure who your complaint should be filed with, contact us for guidance.

Preventing Denial of Access

The ability to self advocate is the most powerful tool to stop someone from denying you access. Having a good working knowledge of the ADA, and the ability to quickly locate online guidance pertaining to OPDMDs' is essential for self advocacy. Keep in mind that even if you can quote the ADA regulations from memory, the person denying you access will probably not have a working knowledge of the ADA. It will be extremely helpful to show the person denying access the information about OPDMD's and the ADA information.

Tips for avoiding denial of access

It is very important to keep copies of guidance on OPDMDs' with you when ever using your device. It is also possible to keep guidance on your smart phone, but keep in mind you might get challenged in a location where you might not have cell phone service.