It seems Uber just can’t get it right lately.
In Washington, D.C. the ride-hailing company was just sued by The Equal Rights Center. Their violation?
Not making their service accessible to wheelchair users.
This goes against D.C’s Human Rights Act, as well as the Americans with Disabilities Act. What’s interesting about this lawsuit is that Uber (and Lyft) had a chance to make handicap cars accessible to riders in wheelchairs last year. They just chose not to, according to a report by The Verge.
Now, if you’re waiting for ridesharing companies to do the right thing by accessibility advocates, you may be in for a long wait.
Your best option right now is to look for an accessible vehicle., also referred to as a handicap car, by some. It can have all the tools and features for helping you or a loved one who may be differently-abled. But which ones should you choose?
Best Handicap Driving Tools
Handicap cars come in different price ranges. Obviously, vehicles fitted with more sophisticated equipment will cost more than those with simple ones.
You also have to note that insurance may or may not cover the costs of mobility equipment. To be sure, you should discuss options and requirements with your insurer.
That said, let’s take a look at the recommended vehicle aids for drivers and passengers with disabilities.
1. Adaptive Seating
Getting in and out of a vehicle is something people without mobility problems don’t worry about. But for those who do and want to do it easily and comfortably, there are adaptive seating options.
An example would be the Bruno Valet products. The most economical of these, the Bruno Valet, is a turning automotive seat that power rotates, extends, and lowers with just a press of a button.
Another great option is B & D Independence, which creates transfer seat bases. These don’t just rotate 100 degrees. They also move back, rise up, and handle weights up to 500 pounds.
2. Hand Controls
For some mobility challenged drivers, hand controls are a must. These are basically levers placed below the steering wheels that attach to both the brake and gas pedals.
Keep in mind, though, that there are different types of hand controls. Some are electronic. Others, such as the SURE GRIP system, allow for more conventional driving.
When shopping for hand controls, make sure you go for a compact design.
You should also look into getting lessons from a Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist if you have no experience driving handicap cars or cars. Same thing goes for cars fitted with hand controls and other assisted driving aids.
Lifts are another option for making accessible cars easy to get in and out of.
There are two basic types: platform and rotary. The former requires a sliding door or two doors and can be automatic or semi-automatic. Rotary lifts, on the other hand, are preferred by those who want parking convenience. They take up less room than platform lifts and work by “swinging” inside, outside, up, and down. Generally speaking: platform lifts are used for wheelchairs and Rotary lifts are used for scooters.
An Advantage Mobility Outfitters mobility consultant can help you choose the best type of lift to purchase based on your specific needs.
Top Features of Handicap Cars
There are vehicle conversion companies, like Braun and VMI that do a great job at building or converting vehicles, and we happen to sell both.
Conversion isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There are accessible vehicles (handicap cars) with good rebate or reimbursement programs such as the Chevrolet Silverado, Scion xB, and Jeep Grand Cherokee.
If you opt for converted vehicles, here are the features you should take into consideration before buying one.
1. Keyless Ignition System
For drivers who don’t or may have lost their ability to grip and turn a key, keyless ignition is a necessity. They work with just a push of a button. However, you still need to have the key fob in your pocket.
If you exit the vehicle, it will shut off and lock itself. And since they work via rolling codes or computer-encrypted microchips, you also get to enjoy that extra layer of security.
2. Automatic Transmission
Standard transmission is generally difficult for differently-abled persons. Of course, it depends upon the degree of disability but for ease of control, automatic transmission is best.
3. Easy Controls
Touch screens are a good option. If you’re not a fan of touch screens, your next best bet are large and easy to use controls.
Don’t be afraid to go big. Bigger is better when it comes to making your vehicle more accessible.
4. Automatic Windows
Crank windows may help those who want a good arm workout but for those with limited mobility, window control should be one less thing to worry about.
5. Adjustable Pedals
Some people who have lost the use of their right foot can have their vehicles fitted with a left foot gas pedal. It works in any vehicle with automatic transmission. Another great thing about it is if the handicapped driver shares the vehicle with another person, the pedal can be easily removed.
Additional Tips for Buying Handicap Cars
Aside from tools and features, you should also consider the following factors:
Height inside the vehicle
Will it be roomy enough for a wheelchair user?
Can it be removed?
This is important for wheelchairs that can’t be folded down.
Does it come with a push button? (Note: People with arthritis may find shifters with buttons hard to use).
Remote engine starter
What will happen if the battery charge runs out while the wheelchair is in mid-lift?
Find Your Ideal Vehicle
It’s no secret that handicap cars can be very expensive. Let us help you find your ideal vehicle by browsing our listings of new and pre-owned vehicles.
If you have purchased your vehicle or mobility equipment from someone else, don’t worry. We will still provide you with first-class service. Our highly-trained automotive service technicians work hard at accommodating every request whether it’s installation of equipment or custom conversion.
Contact us if you need more information about our products and services.
They are the best, I’ve been with them since 2000
They are the best, I’ve been with them since 2000