In recent years, there was an increase in the number of options available to individuals with disabilities, in terms of personal transport. For those able to drive, cars and vans can be modified with features such as hand controls or wheelchair lifts. Mobility Works provides information on how vocational rehabilitation programs can help defray the cost of some modified vans, while the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provides a brochure containing step-by-step information for selecting, modifying and paying for a modified vehicle. This brochure is geared towards both the drivers of modified vehicles and people who drive individuals with disabilities.
For a comprehensive primer on adapted vehicles, please visit the United Spinal Association’s Resource Center article on accessible transportation.
Vehicles with specialized modifications can often be expensive, however. There are several vehicle dealerships, mobility organizations and other groups that can help defray the costs of modifying vehicles for specific needs:
- The National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association is a non-profit association of mobility equipment manufacturers, dealers, driver rehabilitation specialists, and other mobility professionals dedicated to improving the lives of people with disabilities and driving independence through the use of wheelchair accessible vehicles. The organization often partners with individual dealerships and can provide financing information to make such vehicles more affordable.
- The Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists supports professionals working in the field of driver education/driver training and transportation equipment modifications for persons with disabilities through education and information dissemination. They provide a searchable database of medical equipment and mobility equipment providers on their site. The organization also allows some individuals to find a Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist that can help explore alternative transportation solutions for drivers with special needs. These rehabilitation specialists can help evaluate exactly what modifications are needed in a vehicle on a case-by-case basis.