We end our celebration of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by taking a quick look at Title IV – Telecommunications and Title V – Miscellaneous Provisions.
Title IV requires telephone and Internet companies to provide a system of inter- and intrastate relay services which allow people with speech and hearing disabilities to communicate over the phone. It also requires that all federal public service announcements include closed captioning. Emergency telephone services like 911 fall under this title, as well. State and local agencies that provide these emergency services must provide direct access for people who use telecommunication devices for the Deaf (TDDs), or video calling, and cannot use a relay or third-party service to connect these non-voice callers to emergency services. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) oversees enforcement of this title.
Since this title was written in the late 1980s and early 1990s, our communications landscape looks and sounds much different. The 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 updated federal communications laws enacted in the 1980s and 1990s, like the ADA, to bring them up to date with modern communication technology like wireless devices.
The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Inclusive Technologies takes an active role in monitoring and commenting on policies and regulations affecting the wireless communication industry. Read their policy filings about wireless emergency alerts, video relay and enterprise video phones, and much more.
Title V contains several provisions relating to the law as a whole, including its relationship to other laws; the impact of the law on insurance providers and benefits; the illegal use of drugs; and what conditions are not considered disabilities to be covered under the law. This Title also extends coverage to the US Congress, making it the only branch of the federal government covered under the ADA (other laws such as the Rehabilitation Act apply to the Executive branch).
The Great Lakes ADA Regional Center hosts a regular webinar series called Accessibility Online with the US Access Board. The series covers accessibility issues in the built environment, information and communication technologies, and transportation, all areas where several laws intersect. Registration is free and required for these sessions and all webinars are archived for future viewing. Some sessions offer continuing education credits.
While Title V specifies that illegal drug use is not a covered disability, people with substance and alcohol use disorders do have rights under the law. Learn more about addiction, recovery, and the ADA from the New England ADA Regional Center.
As we’ve highlighted in each of these “Quick Look” posts, the ADA National Network offers a wealth of resources and information on the ADA. The information specialists at these regional centers can help advocates, employers, business and facility owners, and state and local government administrators understand their rights and responsibilities under the ADA and other laws that ensure equal access for people with disabilities. We encourage you to visit adata.org to find factsheets, videos, toolkits, courses, and regularly scheduled online events to learn how these laws protect access to employment, education, civic life, and everyday community living. Find your regional center online or call 800/949-4ADA (4232) to be connected to the center serving your community.