I've been following the petition to modify the Air Carrier Access Act; a campaign which would provide air carrier access to all individuals who use wheelchairs while allowing those individuals to remain in their own, customized wheelchairs during flight rather than being forced to transfer into a passenger seat in the plane.
I'd like to ask you, my readers, to please share and disseminate the following press release to your local media, sign the petition and write a letter to your local legislator. Word of mouth is one of the most effective forms of grass roots advocacy. If we all speak up, our voices will be heard.
Vicki Jurney- Taylor who started the petition has done a spectacular job of explaining the focus of the document, so rather than be redundant, I'll let her take it away.
Thank you, in advance for your support of this very important issue.
We are ready to take the next step in our push to make airline travel more accessible to wheelchair users, and once again we need your help. Please copy and paste the media/press release below into an email and sent it to EVERY Newspaper and Television News Station that you can. Your help in doing this will be VERY powerful in achieving success of our campaign! Here is the media/press release:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Petition For Wheelchair Accessibility On Aircraft Draws Huge Support
San Antonio, TEXAS---Two Texas women have started a petition requesting that people with severe disabilities be allowed to remain seated in their customized wheelchairs, during air travel, for health and safety reasons. The petition, which has garnered over 21,500 signatures in two months, will be delivered to President Obama, Congress, the major airlines, aircraft manufacturers, and disability rights organizations.
Vicki Jurney-Taylor, a person whose disability requires her to use a custom fitted power wheelchair and ventilator for independence states, "As it stands now, the Air Carrier Access Act says that I must be manually removed from my wheelchair and carried to a standard passenger seat which does not provide the support that my body needs nor the electricity to power the my vent. Due to my disability, my neck and torso lack muscle strength for control, so flying while not seated in my wheelchair is out of the question."
Presently, 1.6 million people use wheelchairs in the United States . Of these, over 200,000 use power chairs. The population using wheelchairs is just increasing due to the fact that people with disabilities are living longer. Unfortunately, most wheelchair users presently are forced to travel by motor vehicle due to airplane inaccessibility. In addition, in 2008, one particular airline spent over $1 Million in wheelchair repairs. This can be avoided by not having bag handlers mishandle expensive power chairs that cost between $20,000- $60,000. Also, this figure excludes the expenses that airlines outlay every year to disabled travelers in lawsuits, free tickets, and additional items to prevent lawsuits.
Michele Erwin, the founder and Director of All Wheels Up, Inc.( a 501c3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to advocate for accessible wheelchair flight, with focusing on crash testing wheelchairs for commercial flight), says, "A large majority of the work and reports have already been conducted, regarding crash testing wheelchairs. The FAA would only need to expand on the research already done from the company Q'straint, whose restraining systems have passed the 20 G crash test, while all air craft passenger seats have only passed a 16 G crash test. Due to this study alone, the FAA is excited to work on the crash testing wheelchairs for commercial flight. In addition, hundreds of wheelchair models have already undergone extensive crash testing by the RERC WTS (Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Wheelchair Transportation Safety) due to the WC18 regulation funded by the NIDRR (National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research). The studies were completed at the University of Michigan Transportation Research institute. These tests conducted show all chairs have also passes a 20 G frontal crash test, again surpassing the 16G crash test standard for commercial airline seats."
Again, without your help, none of this can succeed.