Department of Justice Issues Notices to Adopt New ADA Standards

June 17, 2008

On June 17, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) issued proposals to adopt new design standards for facilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) based on revised guidelines previously dojsealissued by the Board. Under the ADA, DOJ is responsible for maintaining standards for new construction and alterations that are consistent with the Board's guidelines. DOJ's standards apply to the construction and alteration of all facilities covered by the ADA except transportation facilities, which are subject to standards maintained by the Department of Transportation (DOT). The new standards would apply to state and local government facilities subject to title II of the ADA and to places of public accommodation and commercial facilities covered by title III of the law. DOJ issued separate notices under each title.

The notices also address issues relating to the application of the new standards, including effective dates. Through these proposals, DOJ is also revisiting or supplementing other sections of its regulations, which have changed little since their original publication in 1991. New or revised provisions are proposed concerning removal of barriers in existing facilities, accommodation of service animals, maintenance of accessible features, policies and practices governing various services, including hotel reservations, ticket sales and accessible seating, and provision of auxiliary aids, services, and effective communication, including captioning, narrative description, and video interpreting services. The notices, which highlight specific issues in these and other areas where input from the public is sought, are available through the online edition of the Federal Register. Comments are due by August 18, 2008 and can be submitted through the www.regulations.gov website. DOJ plans to hold a public hearing on the notices during the comment period in Washington, D.C. For further information, contact DOJ at (202) 307-0663 (v/TTY) or visit its website at www.ada.gov.

Current ADA and ABA Standards DOJ will need to follow-up with a finalized notice after the comment period. In the interim, its existing ADA standards are to be followed until the new standards take effect as established in the final notice. Updated ADA standards issued by DOT are in effect for transportation facilities. In addition, most Federal facilities, including postal facilities, are subject to similar standards adopted by the General Services Administration and the U.S. Postal Service under the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA). Military facilities and federally funded housing remain subject to the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS) pending the adoption of new standards by the Department of Defense and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Once these agencies and DOJ implement updated standards, a consistent level of access will be specified for all facilities covered by the ADA or the ABA. Additional information, including links to all relevant regulations and standards, is available on the Board's website.

Standards for ADA Facilities

Transportation

Updated DOT standards

State and Local Government (except transportation)

Original ADA standards or UFAS

Places of Public Accommodation and Commercial Facilities

Original ADA standards

Standards for ABA (Federal) Facilities

Military and Housing

UFAS

Postal

Updated USPS standards

All Other Federal

Updated GSA standards