Results from a survey conducted by the Amputee Coalition of America (ACA), of 7,300 amputees stated that travelers with limb loss have been subjected to inconsistent, unfair and often embarrassing screenings by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees.
“We respect that TSA’s job is to protect our skies, but the lack of training and inconsistent practices in dealing with travelers with limb loss is unacceptable,” Kendra Calhoun, president and chief executive officer of the ACA, stated in a press release. “We are disappointed to learn about amputees who have been required to take off their arms and legs, expose their amputated limbs and give up equipment required for their prosthetic legs. We recognize there are many TSA employees who are doing outstanding jobs with amputee screenings, but clearly our survey data shows there is a lot of room for overall improvement by TSA.”
The ACA survey found:
- TSA agents are often confused about how to manage screening prosthetic arms and legs;
- Amputees are often denied the ability to have their caregivers accompany them into screening rooms;
- Amputees report being screened by TSA agents not of the same gender;
- 75% of respondents said they were unsatisfied with their most recent TSA experience;
- 50% said they were required to lift or raise their clothing during a procedure called “explosive trace sampling” with no explanation given by TSA personnel;
- More than half of the amputees who responded indicated TSA personnel exhibited a lack of training relative to disability populations – namely, amputees; and
- Respondents are 70% less likely to travel by commercial airline due to negative experiences with TSA personnel.
“Amputees have reported to us that there are different procedures at different airports and sometimes different procedures at the same airport, depending on when you fly,” Calhoun stated. “We have gotten reports of more than 15 [radiographs] being taken for an amputee to get through the TSA screening. We want our skies to be safe, but there has to be a better way than the approach TSA is using. We need better training for TSA staff in dealing with disability populations.”