What Goes Into Adapting a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle?
Like their drivers, each adaptive vehicle is unique. That is why it is so important that the technicians who modify vehicles are specially trained to install mobility equipment. The easiest way to ensure your vehicle is being worked on by experienced technicians who follow strict safety guidelines is to choose a NMEDA dealer. In order to qualify for NMEDA membership, dealers must adhere to our Quality Assurance Program (QAP) which holds dealers and manufacturers to the highest levels of safety and service. NMEDA QAP dealers are able to customize vehicles to fit the needs of their drivers and passengers in the safest, most reliable ways. But, what exactly goes into determining how these vehicles are adapted? There are many items every QAP-accredited mobility dealer considers when modifying a vehicle. To follow are a few:
Driver vs. Passenger
If you are a person with a disability wanting to get behind the wheel of a vehicle, a QAP-accredited dealer can refer you to a Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist (CDRS) to complete a thorough evaluation of your specific needs. Once you have been evaluated and “prescribed” the perfect modifications or equipment, our expertly trained, certified technicians can get to work making your transportation dreams come true. This could include installing a transfer seat, special hand controls or steering aids. Alternatively, if a family or caregiver of a wheelchair user is seeking out a handicap accessible vehicle in order to safely and comfortably transport their loved one, our mobility experts will install equipment to make time on the road as secure as possible. This includes items such as ensuring easy access to entry and exit points, optimally placed wheelchair tie downs and a ramp or lift ideally suited to the passengers’ needs.
Present and Future Needs
For many people, physical abilities and limitations can change over time. Because purchasing a wheelchair accessible vehicle is a life-changing investment, QAP-accredited dealers help families, caregivers and individuals with disabilities be sure that their new or used vehicle will stand the test of time and serve its purpose for the long run. Our team will work with you to determine what your needs are today, as well as what they are expected to be in five – seven years down the road. This includes whether you will still be able to transfer from your wheelchair safely and easily, deploy your vehicle’s ramp or lift or effectively use the steering wheel. Working with qualified experts means the answers to all of these potential concerns will be there for you when you need them.
While a brand new, customized wheelchair accessible vehicle ensures a perfect fit for drivers or passengers with disabilities, these mobility vehicles can involve a financial commitment. A great alternative for many people is finding a used wheelchair van to fit their needs. However, buying a van online or through a non-NMEDA dealer is not advisable as these may not have been held to QAP’s strict quality standards. QAP-accredited dealers often have an inventory of these vehicles in stock, meaning our dealer members can still help you find one that answers the requirements of your daily routine.
Whether you’re in the market for your first wheelchair or scooter accessible vehicle, looking to upgrade your wheelchair van or are looking for a safe, reliable way to transport your loved ones with disabilities, a QAP-accredited NMEDA dealer can help you. Locate a dealer near you to get started on the road to independence.
The National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) is an advocate for mobility and accessibility for drivers with disabilities. If you need help with converting or buying a handicap accessible car, truck or van, please consider one of our QAP mobility equipment dealers. Locate a dealer near you: https://nmeda.org/consumer-resources/dealer-locator/