David Morrison, local advocate for people with disabilities, writes in the StarNews (link) about the apparent difficulty they have refueling their vehicles. He asks why should “15 million drivers with disabilities have to drive around on fumes to find an accessible pump?” This raises the question: why are people driving around so incapacitated that they can’t refuel their vehicles. Sounds like a public safety problem rather than an issue of personal inconvenience. But Mr. Morrison seems more concerned with convenience—and imposing more government regulations—than safety.
Morrison points out that the federal Americans with Disability Act requires every gas pump to have a “call button.” But he doesn’t tell us how much that has cost consumers. And that’s not good enough for his interests. He and advocacy groups, such as the United Spinal Association, expect that every gas station in America should have attendants available at any time to personally “assist them” in pumping gasoline.
Morrison promotes the Disability Gas Coalition—activists who pressure businesses and legislators to require gas stations to provide personal assistance to people who drive but supposedly can’t pump gasoline into their vehicles. We assume they would require that every driver with a “Handicapped” tag be given this service free of charge—but it won’t be free. We will all pay.
Obviously, this mandated service would put a huge burden on gas stations; and, of course, would increase the cost of services for all customers.
No American able to do so would refuse to assist someone with a disability in an emergency. However, this new demand for government regulated special service is unreasonable.
An unintended consequence of sounds-good legislation results in advocates using established bureaucracies to regulate public and private services according to their whims, resulting in inconvenience and additional costs to the majority of people. One egregious example is a new ADA regulation that all public swimming pools be equipped with wheelchair access equipment. The result: pools will not be available to many of us because most providers can’t afford it.
It’s unfortunate that some people have disabilities that restrict their activities. But these people are accommodated in many ways through law, and by charities and individuals willing to help them. In my opinion, it is inconsiderate and selfish for advocates to expect the rest of us to be more regulated, inconvenienced and charged more so that a relatively small number of disabled people can attempt to participate in every normal life activity.
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