Your Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle
Purchase Your Wheelchair Vehicle
The first step to purchase your wheelchair accessible vehicle is to locate a mobility equipment dealer near you. You can do this by typing these words into a search engine, looking in the telephone book or asking someone who already has an adapted vehicle. These mobility equipment dealers specialize in this field, have the latest technology available to them and will be best able to assist you.
They not only will be able to advise you on what you will need, they will install the equipment and let you know of any funding sources that may be available to you.
The second step you may need to complete is a driver evaluation with a Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist. This consultation can save you time and frustration by providing you with a prescription that lists specific equipment you will need.
Next you are ready to purchase your wheelchair accessible vehicle. If you purchase from a dealer near you, you will have the recommendations from the NMEDA dealer to help you with your purchase decision. This dealer will help you with any funding applications that may be required prior to your final purchase.
Once you have your new wheelchair accessible vehicle you will need some training to operate it safely if you will be driving. Some training sessions with your CDRS may be beneficial.
Last, but not least, submit your mobility assistance reimbursement application to the appropriate vehicle manufacturer. It is best to visit their website or contact the dealer to assist you with the correct forms.
Government Funding And Public Assistance
There are various sources to assist with funding if you qualify. These include the Veterans Administration Agencies, Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies, Medicare and Medicaid, Social Security, Charitable Organizations/Churches, Special Financing, Fundraising and Grants. Contact the various sources near you to learn more how you may qualify.
Many original equipment manufacturers have their own rebate programs to customers who purchase handicap equipment products. Some of these are Chrysler, Ford, GM, Hyundai, Lexus, Toyota, and Volvo.
NMEDA And You
National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association is a non-profit trade association of mobility equipment dealers, manufacturers, driver rehabilitation specialists and other professionals dedicated to providing opportunities for people with disabilities to drive or be transported in vehicles modified with mobility equipment. All members work together to improve transportation options of people with disabilities.
It originally was founded in the state of Florida and membership consisted of equipment dealers. In 1989 membership opened up and now includes professionals of different backgrounds striving to provide the safest in wheelchair accessible transportation.
All members are required to adhere to the safety standards of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and to follow the guidelines set by NMEDA. Every member agrees to follow these guidelines when they join the association. The guidelines provide detailed recommended practices on equipment installation and modifications and are updated yearly.
The industry also has a Quality Assurance Program that helps ensure that the highest standards in the industry are maintained for the safest ride for those needing modifications to their vehicles. Transportation means freedom and NMEDA is the key to quality transportation.
Special controls for wheelchair accessible vehicles may include electric parking brakes, various hand controls, left foot accelerator pedals, and pedal extensions.
Electronic controls may include power gear selectors, keyless ignitions, gear extension levers, remote wiper, dimmer switch, headlight switch, horn and signal lights.
Steering aids include deep dish steering, foot control, horizontal, steering column extensions, one handed controls and steering spinners.
Depending upon your vehicle you may be able to convert it for your specific needs. There are several on the market that may surprise you.
Freedom Motors, Inc of Battle Creek, MI introduced the first rear entry conversion in 1987.
The Toyota Sienna minivan with the Kneelvan conversion combines the most reliable minivan with the most reliable wheelchair van and handicapped accessible van conversion. Kneelvans look similar to the top of the line minivans they're based on as there are no added ground effects to stand out to make it look like a wheelchair accessible van.
Sport Utility Vehicles
The Kneelvan’s wheelchair accessible van design originally came from Europe, where small hilly roads made this design a favorite for people who had to depend on their wheelchair accessible vehicle to get them where they needed to go.
The Honda Element is a good looking sport utility vehicle on the market, and the X-WAV wheelchair accessible conversion does nothing to detract from its sporty look. A converted Element looks nearly identical to an unconverted one.
If you want to convert your Chrysler PT Cruiser you can. The conversion is hardly noticeable and you are riding in style with a conversion with the PT Rider. Increase your mobility options with the PT DOS, or even drive your dream car itself with the PT Driver.
Taxi and Fleet Transports
Wheelchair vans are used every day to transport the disabled. They function as wheelchair accessible taxis and public para-transit vehicles. The rear entry style is more functional than the side entry and companies are requesting this type of conversion for their fleet of accessible vehicles.
Freedom of choice and the ability to go where you want are available now more than ever. Locate a mobility equipment dealer near you, check out any funding or financial assistance available, consult a Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist, purchase your wheelchair accessible vehicle, get additional training if needed, and submit your rebate information to the original equipment manufacturer.
Quality assurance and crash tested vehicles, combined with personalized options from specialists in the field make your decisions easier. Travelling in wheelchair accessible vans, cars or pickups are some of many options you have.
Public transportation is available if you live in a larger community; private taxi companies are providing accessible transportation also.