Modifying Vehicles for People with Physical Restrictions03 March 2014
Everybody wants to drive, the road always beckons. One’s capacity to drive anywhere he wants – to the grocery store, to work, visit the dentist, go shopping, or just drive around, is the kid n of freedom that everyone desires. But for individuals with movement issues and other kinds of physical incapacities, this kind of freedom may require specialized equipment. Tailor fit equipment and machinery can transform an individual with disabilities from being helpless to totally independent.
Buying a standard vehicle entails a number of considerations and they include the make, model, colour, and price. But having a vehicle modified specifically for people with physical restrictions requires more considerations especially to options relating to the exact needs of the driver. In this particular case, the tag ‘one size fits all’ does not apply.
Each type of disability requires its own specialized adaptive equipment. Choosing the kind of vehicle to buy and the type of adaptive equipment appropriate for the said vehicle and the person with disability requires the expertise of a mobility auto fit expert.
To know and establish the right adaptable equipment for an individual, a rehabilitation specialist needs to evaluate the physical requirements and driving aptitude of the driver. The assessment is usually divided into two sections:
- A clinical test that establishes a person’s visual sensitivity, reaction speed and other important skills needed to be able to drive safely.
- An actual driving assessment that brings to light the person’s driving skills in a genuine traffic situation.
Upon the completion of the evaluation, the rehabilitation specialist would be able to intelligently provide a recommendation on the required adaptable equipment to the vehicle auto fit assembler.
Adaptive equipment varies from one person to another, depending on the cause of disability. Here’s a look at some of them.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or more commonly known as ALS – full sized van or minivan with lowered flooring designed with a lift. Additional equipment may include for ventilator and oxygen.
Elderly individual – minivan with lowered floor and equipped with wheelchair lift, transfer seat, and specialized driving equipment that allows the driver to reach and handle primary and secondary driving controls.
Loss of left arm (amputee) – power steering, automatic transmission, electric turn signal, directional cross over, and foot parking brake release variation.
Loss of right arm – power steering, automatic transmission, electronic ignition, steering device, wiper control adjustment, key extension and electric ignition.
Loss of left leg – parking brake extension, automatic transmission, and chest strap.
Loss of right leg –left foot accelerator, automatic transmission, hand controls, and chest strap.
The absence of both arms –high-tech steering, electric gear selector, electric ignition, foot steering and modification to door opener
The absence of both legs – hand controls, pedal block, steering device, and chest strap.
Arthritis – lowered floor full sized or minivan with wheelchair lift, transfer seat and.