Americans with Disabilities Act 1990 and Driving

A lot of disabled people are unsure as to whether they’re able to legally drive under the law, and the reality is that the word ‘disabled’ covers an incredibly wide array of different illness and ailments and so it’s important to recognize the implications therein.

This page will aim to ensure complete and competent understanding of how the ADA 1990 affects driving a vehicle as a disabled (paraplegic or otherwise) individual.

To start with the 1990 Act specifically prohibits discrimination based on disability in a format similar to current race, gender and religious laws.

Therefore an able bodied access is granted the legal right to drive if he/she can obtain a driver’s license through a registered test.

In order to pass this test it’s usually the case that additional equipment for the vehicle must be either temporarily or permanently installed for the handicapped person to use.

How the Americans with Disabilities Act Affects Driving

Obviously the person is going to have to practice until he/she becomes confident enough to pass the test, and of course using the equipment during the test is permitted.

It’s worth pointing out that just being able to pass the test is not necessarily enough if the person has other ailments such as occasional blackouts which can jeopardize driving.

Keeping this from a doctor, especially if an accident takes place because of the condition, is against the law.

Just remember that it’s not always possible to drive if you’re handicapped if you have sporadically occurring conditions which can endanger yourself and others.

The original theory behind the Americans with Disabilities Act was to provide complete protection against discrimination based purely on the fact that the individual is disabled.

To an extent this was eroded away by a number of different court cases and so George W Bush signed into law the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Amendments Act of 2008 which was designed to push back the court rulings which had negatively affected the original law.

Americans with Disabilities Act 1990

There were instances of religious organizations requested exemption from the law simply because they were deemed ‘public institutions’ and hence required to cater towards disabled people.

This would have obviously cost a lot of money and so one prime example – the Association of Christian Schools International heavily opposed the original act and their role as public institutions therein.

Although I should of course try and keep this article impartial I cannot help but feel a substantially amount of irony that an organization based on the tenants of Christianity and hence (hopefully) helping the less needy would shirk their supposed duty for the sake of saving a little bit of money at the expense of disabled people who are potentially Christians themselves.

Ultimately the ADA 1990 has been partially successful and it will take further time to see if the new 2008 amendment will help disabled people or get somewhat blocked and knocked down by constant legal challenges by powerful corporations, companies and legal teams.

Most people will require hand controls such as by Mobility Products and Design in order to drive their vehicle without using their legs whatsoever.

If you’re interested in reading the entire act then you can visit the ADA 1990 Act on the official American government website.

Got a Question? A Comment? I personally answer them all myself.