CONGRESSMAN JOE MORELLE CALLS ON U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION TO ENSURE ACCESSIBILITY FOR DEAF AND HARD-OF-HEARING PASSENGERS AHEAD OF BUSY TRAVEL SEASON | Representative Joseph Morelle

CONGRESSMAN JOE MORELLE CALLS ON U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION TO ENSURE ACCESSIBILITY FOR DEAF AND HARD-OF-HEARING PASSENGERS AHEAD OF BUSY TRAVEL SEASON

November 26, 2019
Press Release
Department of Transportation continues to delay implementation of accessibility standards, including requiring captions for in-flight entertainment

(Rochester, NY) – Today, Congressman Joe Morelle released a letter (attached) calling on the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) to take action to ensure accessibility for deaf and hard-of-hearing passengers.

“As Americans prepare for the busiest travel season of the year, many of my constituents—and deaf and hard of hearing people across the nation—will face barriers that go beyond long security lines and busy terminals. Everything from boarding announcements and gate changes to safety demonstrations and messages from the pilot are delivered audibly, leaving many deaf passengers in the dark when it comes to essential travel information,” writes Congressman Morelle in the letter. “We have an obligation to ensure the hectic world of air travel is accessible for deaf and hard of hearing passengers. That is why I am disappointed that rulemaking on accessibility for these passengers has been delayed yet again.”

A 2016 negotiated rulemaking consensus directed airlines to guarantee that new in-flight entertainment systems would have captioning and other accessibility. However, this rule did not extend to pre-existing in-flight entertainment, causing continued issues for deaf and hard-of-hearing passengers. DOT has continually delayed action to address this and has now pushed off further rule changes until October 2020. This is unacceptable for deaf and hard-of-hearing passengers who deserve the same travel experience as other passengers.

The full letter is attached.

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