The following is by Sen. Mary Jo Wilhelm:
As a state, we want all Iowans on the move. We all need to get to work, pick up groceries, drive our kids to school and more. This includes those living with disabilities, who want to live independently and with dignity. That is the basis for strengthening state law for assistance with fuel pumps at Iowa gas stations.
People with disabilities can find it difficult or impossible to gas up their vehicles if they are unable to use the controls, hose or nozzle of a fuel pump. People with disabilities may not be able to get their gas at self-service stations, and may be forced to use full-service stations, where the fuel is more expensive.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires gas stations to provide equal access for their customers with disabilities. Federal laws say stations must:
• Provide refueling assistance upon the request of an individual with a disability. A service station or convenience store is not required to provide such service at any time that it is operating on a remote control basis with a single employee, but is encouraged to do so, if feasible.
• Let customers know that those with disabilities can obtain refueling assistance by signaling an employee.
• Provide refueling assistance without any charge beyond the self-serve price, if the customer wants only fuel.
To ensure access to fuel for all Iowans, the Senate Agriculture Committee unanimously approved Senate File 2284. The bill instructs the Iowa Department of Agriculture to establish rules for gas stations to comply with ADA requirements. The rules will outline requirements for signage, a large call button near a pump that can be reached from a driver’s vehicle with a closed hand, and employee assistance without additional fee. Gas stations must comply within six months of when the rules are adopted. Noncompliance could result in license revocation.
Learn more ADA compliance and fuel pumps at www.ada.gov/gasbrief.htm.
UPCOMING PUBLIC FORUMS
• Saturday, March 1, 9 a.m.: Chickasaw County Legislative Forum at the Farm Bureau Building in New Hampton
• Saturday, March 1, 11 a.m.: Floyd County Listening Post at Aromas Coffee, 105 N. Main Street, Charles City
• Friday, March 14, 9:30 a.m.: Worth County Listening Post at Northwood City Hall
• Saturday, March 15, 9:30 a.m.: Mitchell County Listening Post at St. Ansgar City Hall
• Saturday, March 15, 11:30 a.m.: Howard County Listening Post at the Cresco Library