« PreviousContinue »
Mr. WILLIAMS. Is it also the purpose of this legislation to include cases of persons who are temporarily handicapped?
Mr. STRACHAN. If they require an attendant, yes, sir, because they have to deal with the situation at the time.
Mr. WILLIAMS. Do you have any questions, Mr. Carrigg?
Mr. CARRIGG. I might say that this is probably coincidental, that I happen to be one of the committee hearing this bill because for the last 20 years my good mother has been confined to a wheelchair and I certainly know of my own knowledge the difficulty that it is very often for people who are confined to wheelchairs particularly to get along. I can assure you of my sympathy to the bill.
Mr. WILLIAMS. I might say also that I was once named by the Disabled American Veterans as one of the advisers to the President's Advisory Committee on the Employment of Physically Handicapped, to it is coincidental that I should be here, too.
Mr. CARRIGG. These people are at least in the hands of good friends.
Mr. STRACHAN. Mr. Chairman, may I say that your being adviser to the President conveyed my dream.
Mr. WILLIAMS. Thank you, Mr. Strachan.
STATEMENT OF MISS MARIANNE YAMBOR, AFPH LODGE 144,
Miss YAMBOR. Thank you,
Mr. WILLIAMS. Miss Yambor, are you here representing a group or are you here as an individual to testify?
Miss YAMBOR. I am representing Johnstown Lodge 144 as a member in the American Federation of the Physically Handicapped.
Mr. WILLIAMS. Thank you. You may proceed.
Miss YAMBOR. Mr. Chairman, it is an honor and privilege to be here as a representative of the handicapped members of Johnstown Lodge 144, American Federation of the Physically Handicapped, Inc., as well as all severely handicapped.
The ultimate desire of every physically handicapped person is to attain independence. A physically handicapped person is an individual with likes and dislikes, whims and fancies, no matter how mild or severe the handicap may be. He strives for economic, spiritual, and social stability.
Great strides have been made by the American Federation of the Physically Handicapped, Inc., for the physically handicapped to achieve this independence.
At this time, we are aiming for another step forward. That is, to enable us to enjoy the same privileges as the blind through amendment of section 22 of the Interstate Commerce Act.
We, the severely handicapped, on too many occasions are obliged to forego the conveniences of travel by public conveyance, even when the need may be urgent, because of the expense for transportation, doubly so when an attendant is a necessity. Added to the transportation cost is expense of hotel, meals, et cetera, which is all double.
From time to time I use public conveyances for pleasure and for business trips, which are on more frequent intervals since becoming a part of AFPH. My presence here, attended by my mother, is a good example of an important business trip that necessitated public transportation.
It is impossible for me to perform activities of daily living without some assistance. This is the sort of assistance that is not given by employees on public conveyances, or hotels, or motels. Therefore, an attendant must go with me.
Traveling is important to the severely physically handicapped, as it is to nonhandicapped. For example, it has helped me gain a great deal of good feeling, moral support, education, self-improvement, selffulfillment, and a self-satisfaction which I cannot describe in words. Perhaps if you will form a mental image, you may visualize what it means to a severely handicapped person to be seated in a plane, or train, side by side with his fellow citizens.
Many times I have regretted that a trip, of importance to me, could not be arranged because of the financial expense. Expense for two for the price of one would be a help, and add an incentive to more severely handicapped to travel more frequently.
Since a handicapped person is a part of our great democracy it is only fair that we should be given the rights and privileges accorded to all who live in this democracy. So, in behalf of all severely handicapped, respectfully, may I ask you to amend and vote to pass H. R. 6111 introduced by your warm-hearted committee chairman, Mr. Priest.
I thank you.
Mr. WILLIAMS. Miss Yambor, you suggested that we amend H. R. 6111. Is your suggestion that the amendment be to make it conform with the Senate bill as it has passed the Senate?
Miss YAMBOR. Yes.
STATEMENT OF EDWARD W. WETHERALD, AMERICAN FEDERA. TION OF THE PHYSICALLY HANDICAPPED, LODGE 143, WASHINGTON, D. C.
Mr. WETHERALD. Mr. Chairman, my name is Edward W. Wetherald. My address is Bryantown, Md.
I am a graduate of Earlham College, Richmond, Ind., and a member of the American Federation of the Physically Handicapped, Inc.
I am glad to meet with this committee to present the views of AFPH Challenger Lodge 143 on H. R. 6111, a bill authorizing common carriers to carry a disabled person requiring an attendant and such attendant for one fare.
We, as physically handicapped, using wheelchairs, stretchers, canes, and needing an attendant, express our position favoring adoption of HR. 6111.
Let me consider the specific benefits associated with H. R. 6111. Quite often a physically handicapped is confronted with a trip of importance, be it for pleasure and/or business. This trip may have to be canceled due to expense. Not only does the physically handicapped have to pay his own full fare, but provide for the fare of his attendant. Too often the physically handicapped has to give up his trip and his independence takes another rap.
Another important point deals with an old proverb:“What is good for the goose is good for the gander.”
The severely handicapped have been discriminated upon. The blind, and the blind only, already receive the benefits for which this bill is intended.
Is it not important to share equally with other severely handicapped, who are likewise entitled to consideration?
It is thus clear that favorable action on this bill will help add a more fruitful life for many of the 9 million severely physically handicapped.
Mr. WILLIAMS. Thank you, Mr. Wetherald.
In reading the Senate report on this bill, I notice that the present law states:
Any totally blind person accompanied by a guide or seeing-eye dog or other guide dog, especially trained and educated for that purpose, and so forth.
Do the words "accompanied by a guide or seeing-eye dog or other guide dog,” include a human being also as a guide under the present law; is that the interpretation that has been placed on it?
Mr. WETHERALD. It is my opinion.
STATEMENT OF G. WENDELL SWAIN, AMERICAN FEDERATION
OF THE PHYSICALLY HANDICAPPED, LODGE 128, KALAMAZOO, MICH.
Mr. Swain. Mr. Chairman, as a physically handicapped person, I am proud to have been asked to testify before you gentlemen, because I know what it will mean to the thousands of other handicapped people to have you vote favorably on bill H, R. 6111.
As you probably already know, it means everything to a handicapped person to have work or something to keep their minds occupied. It would also mean a lot to some to be ableto travel, but cannot afford it, whereby, by passing this bill, then they go with an attendant for the price of one.
Speaking for myself, I have to be carried on and off a train, plane, or bus, and sometimes it is very difficult to find someone to do it, but if it were possible to take along an attendant I could make more business and pleasure trips.
I love to travel, but have not been able to do much due to the lack of finances.
As president of Lodge 128 of the American Federation of the Physically Handicapped of Kalamazoo, Mich., also as treasurer of our Michigan State Department of the American Federation of the Physically Handicapped, it has been a privilege to come here to ask you gentlemen to vote favorably on H. R. 6111.
Mr. WILLIAMS. Thank you, Mr. Swain.
STATEMENT OF MISS BARBARA COVERDALE, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF THE PHYSICALLY HANDICAPPED, LODGE 115, BATTLE CREEK, MICH.
Miss COVERDALE. Mr. Chairman, it is an honor to be here. As a handicapped person who must have an attendant when traveling. I respectfully urge you to vote and pass H. R. 6111.
There are many persons in moderate or very poor circumstances, financially, who are compelled to forego the convenience of travel by public conveyances because they cannot afford the added expense of another fare.
Today the blind are permitted to ride upon public conveyances, when accompanied by a guide, for half fare for himself and his accompanist.
It is just as important to the severely handicapped to be able to avail themselves of the services of public transportation, be the trip for pleasure or business reasons. There have been many times I have been unable to make trips because of the financial expense.
So, in behalf of all the severely handicapped, I again urge you to vote and pass H. R. 6111.
Mr. WILLIAMS. Thank you, Miss Coverdale. STATEMENT OF MISS LOIS JANE GREGG, AMERICAN FEDERATION
OF THE PHYSICALLY HANDICAPPED, LODGE 113, PITTSBURGH, PA.
Miss Gregg. Mr. Chairman, I am very honored to have the opportunity to appear before you gentlemen to urge your support of H. R. 6111.
I am speaking in behalf of handicapped people of the State of Pennsylvania.
The passage of this bill would mean a great benefit to handicapped men and women throughout the country not only financially, which is a great consideration, but by giving a sense of mobility and independence which is invaluable in successfully living with our handicap.
Mr. Burke is national legislative representative for the United Anto Workers, AFL-CIO, with offices here in Washington.
STATEMENT OF THOMAS H. BURKE, NATIONAL REPRESENTATIVE,
UNITED AUTO WORKERS, AFL-CIO, WASHINGTON, D. C. Mr. BURKE. Mr. Chairman, I am grateful for the opportunity to testify for this bill, introduced by your chairman, Hon. J. Percy Priest.
We in labor are familiar with the vicissitudes of life, particularly those stemming from physical injury, disease, or defect, and we are particularly sensitive to the needs of those who are severely handicapped, and require assistance in order to move around.
Unquestionably, passage of this bill will remove a great injustice which has been done to many millions of handicapped people, in wheelchairs, on crutches or canes, and requiring attendants in order to go from place to place.
Therefore, Mr. Chairman, there is every reason to approve this bill and none whatsoever in the minds and hearts of thinking, humane people, dedicated to fair play, to oppose it. All labor has endorsed this bill, and my own union, which is the largest organization in labor, the United Auto Workers, is strongly in favor of its early enactment.
As a comparable proposition, in some respects, Mr. Chairman, our union is responsible for the recent action of the city of Detroit streetcar and bus systems in permitting elderly, retired persons to ride halffare. This accomplished two purposes:
One, it helped the transit companies, which continually complain, as do many of our rail and other transportation lines, of insufficient revenues from passenger fares, to increase their income from that source, and, second, it permitted many citizens who must watch their expenditures very carefully, to have the advantage of half-fare transportation cost.
Enactment of H. R. 6111, or the Senate bill, S. 1777, will perform virtually the same benefits for many of our severely handicapped people, and we most strongly urge your approval and support for its passage.
I would like to ask you one question that may be indirectly related to the type of legislation we have before us.
Do you know what the present policy is, the policy of the automobile manufacturers, with respect to the cost of equipping specially equipped cars for handicapped people!
Mr. BURKE. I do not know the recent policy. However, I believe that the cars that were equipped through the Veterans' Administration approvals, the special equipment was put on at cost.
Mr. WILLIAMS. It was put on at cost?
Mr. Williams. Do you feel, this brings up another question on s subject whose only relationship to this is that it would affect physically disabled people, do you feel that there would be any interest in legislation that would permit automobile manufacturers to provide special equipment on cars without cost to disabled persons if they saw fit to do so?