The Transportation Security Administration is set to start implementing new staff training and screening procedures to better serve individuals with disabilities as they make their way through airports across the country.
The TSA says as soon as May they will begin educating officers to look for designations on driver’s licenses and other state identification cards signifying that a person has a disability that may pose a communication barrier.
According to Disability Scoop, several states have already updated their laws allowing people with disabilities to add what’s known as a “communication impediment designation” in order to alert law enforcement officers of any potential issues. Twelve U.S. lawmakers reached out to TSA late last year to ask the agency to provide training regarding the designation.
Darby LaJoye, Executive Assistant Administrator for Security Operations, TSA, stated that the organization is also “discussing the possibility” of integrating communication impediment designations into its credential authentication technology - allowing agents to retrieve pertinent information about a traveler by scanning their identification card.
“We are committed to helping individuals with disabilities navigate the travel screening process and to ensuring that all passengers, regardless of their personal situations and needs, are treated with dignity, respect and courtesy,” LaJoye said. “I agree that the communication impediment designation could be a useful tool for TSA as we continuously work to improve the travel screening process for individuals with disabilities.”