Mary Matoba from Performance Mobility spoke to our group at our February meeting about driving with disabilities. She covered a wide range of subjects from transporting wheelchairs to hand controls.
The Performance Mobility website, click here, is a great resource for all aspects of driving with disabilities from car lifts, seat transfers, wheelchair locking devices to adapted vehicles.
There are two main types of devices to safely securing a wheelchair inside a vehicle. There is the tie-down type system like Sure-Lok, click here. This type can be a bit labor intensive to secure all the tie-downs. The second type is the floor docking systems as provided by Q’Straint, click here, and EZ Lock, click here.
The main part of the meeting was talking about vehicles that have been adapted for disabled driving and using hand-controls.
The first thing is to work with a Certified Driving Rehab Specialist (CDRS) who will work with you to figure out what kind of adaptive driving controls you will require. The Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists (ADED), click here, has a directory of CDRS specialists. The CDRS will require a doctor prescription that you qualify to drive a vehicle that will be modified for driving with disabilities.
When going to a company that will modify a vehicle for your needs, it is important to go with one that belongs to the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA), click here.
Performance Mobility works with the largest companies such as Vantage Mobility International (VMI), click here, and Braun Ability, click here, to get the vehicle that is right for you.
They also work with Sure Grip, the leader in hand controls for cars. Their web-site, please click here, has some great videos on the bottom of the screen on the various types of hand controls.
Unfortunately having a vehicle adapted for disabled driving is not cheap. However there are financial assistance programs available:
- Disability Blog, click here, has a list of government/state/veteran and automobile manufacturer programs available.
- VMI, click here, also lists the current automobile manufacturer programs and other resources.
- The University of Colorado – School of Medicine, click here, lists resources both local and national.