IA Bill Could Help Disabled Drivers Refuel At Gas Stations - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

IA Bill Could Help Disabled Drivers Refuel At Gas Stations

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     Easing a different kind of pain at the pump. A bill is making its way through the Iowa legislature having to do with refueling assistance for disabled drivers or others needing help at gas stations. Those pushing for changes say it really boils down to an improved line of communication. 

     Despite Americans with Disabilities Act regulations requiring gas stations to assist drivers who ask for help pumping fuel if there are enough attendants on duty, most stations don't have a really effective way to get the message across. This legislation would incentivize small changes that could make a big difference.

     It's something most drivers do regularly without much thought or trouble. But to some, like Gary McDermott of Clinton, refueling his van requires some assistance. "Driving is the easy part. I had to learn how to use adaptive driving equipment but when you get to a gas station there's no adaptive equipment to get gas," said McDermott.

     McDermott helped write legislation recently passed by the Iowa Senate spelling out changes that some gas station owners, like Pat Determan are starting to make on their own.
     "Now they have a spot, they can go to 1 or 2 and push the button, somebody will come out and help take care of them," said Determan, owner of Lyons Filling Station.

    A large call button that can be pushed with a closed fist and let's attendants inside know inside that a customer needs assistance.  The bill has passed some hurdles. Originally it mandated the call button and signage notifying customers which hours refueling assistance is available at every station.

      "We had to change it a few times a long the way but I think we've got a good solid bill that I think most people can get behind," said State Senator Rita Hart, (D) - Clinton.

      Instead, the language now requires those things for new builds or when upgrades are being done at stations with more than two workers. Also included are tax credits to those that make the change either way.

     Start up costs for changes like this at gas stations are about $1,000. If the legislation in Iowa becomes law McDermott's goal is to get something similar started in Illinois.


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