The Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) is suing the Department of Transportation (DOT), in hopes of triggering a rollback of regulations that are creating what deems as unsafe environments for disabled airline travelers.
Filing a petition of mandamus before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10thCircuit in Denver on Nov. 28, attorneys for PVA argued that the Transportation Department’s decision to relax rules that regulate restroom accessibility on airliners is both illegal and harmful.
“Veterans with disabilities detailed the need to intentionally dehydrate themselves before a flight, use catheters while in flight, wear protective undergarments, and take other extreme measures to assuage the stress and embarrassment many travelers with disabilities face when unable to access an airplane restroom during a flight,” PVA stated in a press release on the organization’s web site.
Under the change, airlines could equip new aircraft with restrooms that are 24 inches wide — significantly smaller than currently found. The Transportation Department approved the move in disregard of recommendations by the airlines, disability groups and other organizations that airplane restrooms be designed to accommodate persons in wheelchairs.
“Disabled veterans have already sacrificed so much for our country. The DOT should make compliance a top priority, ensuring these veterans and all people with disabilities can travel with dignity,” said PVA executive director Car Blake.
Democracy Forward, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group, is representing PVA in court.