Senate Committee Advances Bill Requiring Wheelchair Passengers To Be Properly Secured In Vehicles

May 17, 2012
 TRENTON – The Senate Transportation Committee today advanced a bill to require wheelchairs to be properly secured in vehicles by a four-point restraint system.

“It is a law for the protection of motorists and their passengers to be buckled up during their travels and it is absolutely essential for passengers in wheelchairs to be properly belted in,” said state Sen. Kevin O’Toole (R-Bergen/ Essex/ Morris/ Passaic), a sponsor of the legislation. The motivation for the bill is the tragic case of Hanson Kim Tun Chan, 86, of Fort Lee, who died after suffering a broken neck during a 2008 ambulance ride to a physical therapy appointment. Current state law does not require patients be secured during transport in an ambulance. The bipartisan legislation (S-715) requires private entities engaged in the business of transporting passengers in wheelchairs to secure wheelchairs and passengers in wheelchairs using a four-point system. A similar version of this bill unanimously passed the Senate last session but died in the Assembly. This session’s version has been unanimously passed by the Assembly.

 “I am confident my legislative colleagues share my interest in protecting the safety of vulnerable New Jerseyans to the point they will not let this common-sense measure to languish, risking another tragedy like the one unnecessarily endured by Hanson Kim Tun Chan,” O’Toole concluded.

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The government of British columbia takes the Axe to the rights and services of the disabled again

People with disabilities dismayed TaxiSaver program being cut

 Reposted from a story By Kate Webb
Metro/Courtesy Richard Eriksson via Flickr TransLink says more than 85 per cent of TaxiSaver users do not use HandyDART services, and that is not cost effective

People with disabilities say they are extremely disappointed that TransLink is doing away with the 20-year-old TaxiSaver program, which subsidizes 50 per cent of taxi fares for people with cognitive and physical disabilities.

Faced with an increasing population of frail seniors, TransLink says it is trying to do more with less, and cutting the program will save $1.1 million per year that can be reinvested in providing more trips through HandyDART services.

The Council of Senior Citizens’ Organizations of BC and the BC Coalition of People with Disabilities (BCCPD) said the move will have a negative impact on frail and low-income seniors, who make up the vast majority of HandyDART users.

“We think it means fewer people with disabilities and frail seniors will be able to get out into the community, and also their lives will be less spontaneous,” said Jane Dyson, executive director of the BCCPD.

“Right now with the TaxiSaver program if they need to make a short, quick trip, they can use that TaxiSaver toward a cab to go out to a pharmacy or so on to get what they need, whereas with HandyDART you need to book 24 hours ahead.”

Dyson said the number of cases in which HandyDART has been unable to provide services to clients has been climbing steadily in recent months to three per cent of all requests.

TransLink spokesman Drew Snider said according to last year’s numbers just over two per cent of all HandyDART requests were unfulfilled. By reinvesting savings from the TaxiSaver program into HandyDART and supplemental taxi services booked through HandyDART, he said TransLink will be able to fill an additional 19,900 HandyDART requests per year. That’s 1,800 more trips than requests went unfulfilled last year.

“In understand exactly where they’re coming from, and all I can say is at this time we need to look at how to provide more service for our clients who require the HandyDART service and to channel more resources into that,” Snider said. “(This decision) increases the likelihood that people will be able to book trips on the HandyDART system on shorter notice.”

He noted that to date more than 85 per cent of TaxiSaver users do not use HandyDART, and the program was introduced at a time before most buses were wheelchair accessible.
TaxiSaver is expected to be phased out at the beginning of July, and coupons will no longer be accepted as of June, 2013.

I Sat Next to Someone on a Bus Once who Lived Next Door to Someone who Knew Someone who has it, so I’m an Expert, Aren’t I?

I fight every day to try and make the able-bodied community understand what the disabled community goes through and why we need the rights we have enforced and why we need more appropriate rights that make sense and serve us better written into law. I’m used to the “not in this budget” or “you already have rights it’s called the constitution” or “be glad for what you have and be quiet.” All those come from age, ignorance and attitudes of a time gone by. The ones I can’t stand are the uninformed and untraveled, never left their sofa in their double wide but once watched discovery channel experts.

To give you an example of what I mean, I am multilingual and one day I came on Facebook after waking and said “yassu” to my Greek friends, “previet” to my Russian friends, “Kia-ora” to my Maori friends and “buonegiorno” to the Italians, “boker tov” to Israeli friends and “Konichiwa” to my friend in Tokyo. Shortly after they all replied, someone who I had friended the previous day chimed in with the statement “GOOGLE TRANSLATE MUCH?”  Confused I asked what they meant.

The person interjecting the comment came back and said that well everyone knows you don’t speak those languages, you just use Google translate to show off! Even though everyone of my friends came on to back me up and swear they have regular conversations in their native tongue with me the doubter insisted. I asked the doubter for an explanation and their reasoning was if they lived in a trailer park in Oklahoma and had never gone further than the next county and only spoke English then why should I be able to afterall I was no better than them?

So by the reasoning of some, if you excel, if you want to not only dream but fulfill those dreams you must be a liar or you must be a pretender because if you are not, if what lies before them is real, then they must have failed.

Earlier today I was discussing the correct meaning and usage of Russian words. When I pointed out a faux paux I was told 80% of his friends In Adelaide, Australia a town I am expert in, as I grew up there and married there and have children there and know that for every Russian you might meet you’re more likely to meet half a million Italians or Greeks, disagree so that makes him an expert.

I am not denigrating anyones experience. What I was trying to get across, as this person insisted they were correct because they knew 5 or 6 Russians in Adelaide, when 14 years ago I met and married one, moved in with her parents then nursed her mother till her death in 2007, was that ultimately while their opinion and knowledge was valid, I might have something more to share that came from a point of greater experience. My mother-in-law taught me the language, (not promoting myself as a Russian scholar but as competent enough to make myself understood and understand others) the cuisine, the history and since then I speak the language daily and live on a street of Russian Jewish families. I have an extended family of non English speaking people who I interact with every day so when I gave an insider’s view the insults flew and the put downs came out because if I knew more than them they seemed less than.

This is the attitude of our government as well. Recently the Republican Party set up a committee entirely made up of men to decide the rights a woman has over her own body and reproductive system? Whenever we the disability advocates go to speak on Capitol Hill octogenarians make statements like “Nonsense, when I was boy my father was in a chair and he didn’t mind us lifting him and we didn’t need ramps and he didn’t get a pension — why doesn’t your family keep you home?” Or “I see people in wheelchairs in my neighborhood they don’t complain.” What happens is the “I sat next to someone on a bus who went to school with someone who is related to someone who knows a paraplegic so I’m qualified to make decisions as an expert on your life” gets elected to the committee over actual disabled people!

The government has an office of Latino Affairs and it’s run by a Latino and the office of Asian Affairs is run by Asians and yes even the office of African American affairs is run by African Americans. So why is it when you get to the rights of the disabled, an able bodied person with a degree who has no experience being disabled is the expert the government asks when ruling on our lives.

To the government who is asking us to trust and vote for them, we may have our rights walked all over but we can still get to the voting booth. So how about letting women rule their own bodies and the disabled rule on their own lives? Otherwise come Election Day and we the disenfranchised will evoke our STAND YOUR GROUND RIGHTS  and claim you threaten our safety and well being and vote your threatening body out of office. It works for the rednecks who shoot innocent black youth maybe it will work for us.

North Carolina Mom Slams School that puts her Disabled Child in a Box


North Carolina mom, Joy Amatuccio, slams school that put her disabled son in a carboard box.

North Carolina mom, Joy Amatuccio, said teachers at Hudson Middle School put her disabled son in a cardboard box when he acted up.

North Carolina mom, Joy Amatuccio, slams school that put her disabled son in a carboard box.

Amatuccio said another parent snapped a photo of the box last month and showed it to her on Monday.

North Carolina mom, Joy Amatuccio, slams school that put her disabled son in a carboard box.

Amatuccio’s son, Jacob, 14, suffered a brain injury as a toddler that left him mentally and physically disabled.

A North Carolina mom is fuming at her disabled son’s middle school for wheeling the boy into a refrigerator-sized cardboard box every time he misbehaved.

Joy Amatuccio told local station WSOCTV that teachers at Hudson Middle School built the makeshift “time out box” specifically for her son Jacob, 14, who suffered a brain injury as a toddler that left him mentally disabled, partially paralyzed and prone to outbursts.

“I was mortified,” she told the station. “I was absolutely mortified. I think I was in disbelief at first, like, ‘Why would they put him in a box?’”

The distraught mom said the boy has his own aide and that the school had a specialized plan in place to calm the boy when he acted up, including taking him for walks outside.

Amatuccio said she found out about the box on Monday after another parent showed her a photo of it, the Hickory Daily Record reported.

That mom had seen the box during a visit to the classroom in April and snapped a photo of it.

“The mom asked the teacher and they said it was a quiet place for Jacob, that he liked it,” Amatuccio told the newspaper.

The classroom shame chamber even had a flap that could be closed, isolating the wheelchair-bound boy from the rest of the class.

“It’s dignity. That’s his dignity,” Amatuccio told WSOCTV. “These are all his peers. People can walk by and see, there’s a child in the box. ‘Look at the disabled boy in a box.’”

School officials said the principal, Bill Griffin, threw out the box last month and that Jacob’s teacher was suspended with pay pending an investigation.

The teacher’s name was not released.

The principal apologized and Jacob was reassigned to another special needs class, Amatuccio said

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