Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles

Written by Sierra Rein
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There are a number of different types of wheelchair accessible vehicles available for either persons with disabilities or the elderly. From personal vans to large busses, these vehicles allow anyone to travel without dependency and to hold jobs and social lives. These vehicles are not just a new technology--they are the ticket to freedom and independence for a large population of today's citizens.

In accordance with the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, and in conjunction with many other laws detailing the public rights of persons with disabilities, most transit companies throughout the United States equip their busses and large vans with handicap ramps and lifts. This is great news for wheelchair-bound individuals who do not own a personal car, yet who need to travel by public transportation in a hurry. However, it usually takes a special call to find a taxi or limousine company who has a wheelchair accessible vehicle within their fleet.

Most handicapped people who enjoy a more independent lifestyle decide to purchase their own converted van or mini-van. These wheelchair accessible vehicles are designed to handle the weight and shape of a wheelchair or scooter, and can arrive with full lift and powered door capabilities. If the person decides to drive himself, he can either choose to lift himself into the driver's seat (if he is unhindered by his disability), or drive his wheelchair into the driver's seat area and lock himself into place.

Controlling Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles

Because most people who use wheelchairs do not have the foot strength or coordination commonly found amongst ambulatory persons, wheelchair accessible vehicles are equipped with hand controls for the gas, brake, shift and steering. Carefully designed hydraulics control the engine and the steering column, making the vehicle completely safe and easy to drive. Oftentimes, however, driver's education must be completed before receiving a license to drive one of these types of cars or vans.

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