New law helps disabled at gas stations

Disabled people who drive are getting a little relief at the pump.

If they use large gas stations to fuel up, they can now call the phone number on the disabled decal and talk with the gas station's attendant to have that person help them fill their gas tank.

"When I came to Tampa I found out I had to get out of my own vehicle and pump my own gas unless I could get the attention of my own vehicle," said Ben Ritter, a disabled veteran.

Ritter came up with an idea a few years ago.

"Then it occurred to me. Why can't they put telephone numbers on gas pumps?"

In the past, gas stations used a call button on the pumps for a disabled driver to push and an attendant would come out to help them. But there was a problem with that.

"I couldn't reach the button," Ritter said. "Some people I know would stick their cane out the door to reach and push the button."

Ritter talked with a sales representative for J. H. Williams Oil Inc., Mike Aldred, about the issue.

"When Ben and I first met he said I can't reach that button and I am in the front seat," Aldred said. "And I said, 'Ben I never thought about that. Let's sit down and talk about it.' I thought we had it covered I thought the call buttons on the dispensers had us covered."

In 2010, Ritter met with local disabled groups and veterans groups in Hillsborough County to discuss turning his idea into an ordinance. Aldred put the decals with the attendant's number on his gas pumps. He was the first gas station owner in Florida to do it.

"It was the right thing to do and it was not expensive at all," Aldred said.

Then in 2011 Hillsborough made it an ordinance. Six other counties followed and then on Tuesday it became a law. The state has two years to implement the law.

"Our lives as disabled people are easier now," said Ritter.

Ritter and Aldred hope the rest of the United States follows Florida's lead.


Read the Florida House legislation

Many new laws in Florida

Changes in juvenile justice

Remee Law protects unborn


To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment