Universal accessibility has become an important concept in a time when there are large numbers of people living with disabilities and special needs. The term implies the design of products and services that cater to people of various abilities, especially those who are disabled and require special assistance.
With accessibility becoming such a growing concern, it is no surprise that there has been a rise in the demand for and consumption of wheelchair accessible vans. Ideally, these vans have larger interior space and are equipped for wheelchair entry. Automobile manufacturing companies themselves might not design such vehicles but there are other companies that specialize in accessibility designs and modify cars according to a person’s needs.
Depending on an individual’s requirements, there are a number of things to keep in mind while buying or even renting a wheelchair accessible van.
Types of entry
Vans are modified for wheelchair access by customizing the entrance to the vehicle. Side entrances are required for those individuals who are disabled but drive their van themselves. Rear entry is more suited for those who are just passengers.
Companies that customize vehicles for disability access do so based on two very important criteria. The vans are either modified for the driver who is in a wheelchair or a passenger who is wheelchair bound. Modifications for the driver usually include the following:
- Floor of the van is lowered.
- Changes may be made to the car taking in to account the extra weight of the wheelchair
- The driver’s seat is modified to make space for a wheelchair
- Access to the car is enabled through the means of either a ramp or a lift
- Suspension is improved for the comfort of the driver
- The vans are modified to meet special safety guidelines
In situations where the individual in a wheelchair is a passenger, the following changes are made to the van:
- Seats are added or removed depending on the wheelchair
- The floor of the van is provided with additional support
- Straps and reinforcements are installed to fix the wheelchair in place
- The van is provided with additional lining
Vans customized for the disabled can be accessed through either one of two methods. Ramps are usually ideal for mini vans and not larger vehicles. They can be installed at the side entrance of the van or the rear depending on whether the individual in the wheelchair is the driver or passenger. These ramps can be operated manually or automatically. This too will depend on the preference of the individual. Portable ramps are also a viable option. There are no modification or installation charges and the ramp can be used for handicapped access elsewhere too.
Apart from ramps, vans that are wheelchair accessible also have lifts to carry the individual in. Lifts are more suited for large vans, trailers and even buses. Mono-arm lifts are light and small making them ideal for side entrances. Double-arm lifts are cumbersome and, therefore, required for large vehicles and better fitted to back entrances.
There is a growing need for wheelchair accessible vans and there are an increasing number of companies that customize such cars for both selling and renting. There is a large market for the resale of such vehicles as well.
Contact Person: Mo Abusham
BETTER LIFE MOBILITY CENTERS
Address: 8130 Parkway Dr.La Mesa, CA 91942
Tel/Fax: 888 540 8267