New ADA Regulations
As part of the administration's commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), President Barack Obama announced on Monday July 26, 2010 the publication of two final rules that will amend the Department of Justice's regulations implementing Title II and Title III of the ADA. These two rules were published concurrently in the Federal Register. Among the changes that will affect both rules are:
Adoption of the Revised Design Standards
New accessible design standards are established for a variety of recreational facilities, including swimming pools, playgrounds, golf courses, amusement rides, recreational boating facilities, exercise machines and equipment, miniature golf courses and fishing piers; as well as for such public facilities as courthouses, jails and prisons.
Element by Element Safe Harbor
The department is mitigating the cost of design changes by adopting a "safe harbor" under which existing building elements that already comply with the 1991 ADA Standards for Accessible Design will not be required to be brought into compliance with the 2010 Standards until the elements are subject to a planned alteration.
The department has added provisions that provide guidance on the sale of tickets for accessible seating, the sale of season tickets, the secondary ticket market, the hold and release of accessible seating to persons other than those who need accessible seating, ticket pricing, prevention of the fraudulent purchase of accessible seating and the ability to purchase multiple tickets when buying accessible seating.
The regulations define "service animal" as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for benefit of an individual with a disability.
Wheelchairs and Other Power-Driven Mobility Devices
The amended rules provide guidance on how to determine when and where non-traditional mobility aids must be permitted in pedestrian areas.
The Title III regulation also makes clear that timeshare and condominium properties that operate like hotels are subject to title III, providing guidance about the factors that must be present for a facility that is not an inn, motel, or hotel to qualify as a place of lodging.
Reservations at places of lodging
The Title III regulation includes provisions for reservations made by places of lodging, including requirements for procedures that will allow individuals with disabilities to make reservations for accessible guest rooms during the same hours and in the same manner as other guests.