May is National Mobility Awareness Month – Vote in Online Contest to Win a Van

TAMPA, FLA. (May 16, 2016) – More than 18 million Americans and Canadians have mobility issues with six percent being veterans. Many more are seniors who grow into their disability. Just because someone is in a wheelchair or a scooter, getting around town and living an active mobile lifestyle is still a possibility. There are numerous mobility options available for people with disabilities that can make driving and riding in a vehicle a more pleasurable experience, non-profit member organization National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) can help locate mobility resources. May is National Mobility Awareness Month, and you can enter to win one of three wheelchair accessible vehicles by visiting

When learning a new skill or hobby, there may be a time of challenge. In the same way, a new wheelchair user, especially one beginning to use a minivan, SUV or truck that is wheelchair accessible, can experience difficulties. But, with the help of NMEDA’s Quality Assurance Program (QAP) dealers and Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialists (CDRS), you can be on your way to moving forward with ease. Here are some ways you can think about the use of your wheelchair accessible vehicle that will help you.

Consider Your Environment

When shopping for a wheelchair accessible vehicle or mobility equipment, factor in where you will be using your vehicle. This purchase is an investment, so keep in mind the weather conditions you will have to face and the routine maintenance needed for your minivan, SUV, car or truck. Besides your environment, consider your present and potential health changes for future conditions. Transferring into and out of a transfer seat if you are a driver is great for someone with upper body strength but can get tiresome and not possible if your conditions worsen.

Mobility Solutions

A popular mobility solution for those who have a wheelchair accessible vehicle is a transfer or a turning seat that allows a person with a disability to move from their wheelchair and drive a vehicle from a specialized driver’s seat. There are different types of transfer seats including a 6-way and 4-way power seat base. The 4-way power seat base is a motorized seat that moves forward and backward. Some 4-way systems have the capability of moving up and down. The 6-way seat base has all of the functions of the 4-way power seat base, plus motorized swivel movement capabilities. If you are a passenger or a driver, there are also turning seats available that swivel outside the vehicle and down to make the transfer easier.

It is also possible to drive from a wheelchair. There are seat bases that can be removed allowing space for a wheelchair. The removable seat bases can then be stored in the rear of the vehicle. For those who sit higher up in a wheelchair, wheel wells and automatic power pans can be installed to lower the wheelchair, and adjust their line of sight.

Seating restraints are available for securing a person or wheelchair in place in the vehicle. There are restraint options such as chest harnesses and lateral trunk supports to support those with diminished trunk and musculature balance. No matter what type of seat or safety restraint is being used, it is always imperative to use a seatbelt when in a moving vehicle. Do not depend on wheelchair locks alone for safety in the event of an accident.

About National Mobility Awareness Month: May is National Mobility Awareness Month and is the annual celebration that encourages seniors, veterans, caregivers and people with disabilities to enjoy active, mobile lifestyles. Founded in 1989 as a not-for-profit trade association, the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) supports the awareness month with the assistance of approximately 600 members including mobility equipment QAP dealers, manufacturers and driver rehabilitation specialists located in the United States and Canada dedicated to expanding opportunities for people with disabilities. For updates, please visit, as well as Facebook, Twitter (@NMEDAcom) and Pinterest.

6 responses to “Tips For New Wheelchair Users

  1. Great article on helping people to be able to live a better life. To help you deal with issues related to being wheelchair bound, look to InMotion Mobility – – to provide you with the best options, advice, and ultimately help in making your life better.

  2. The environment probably plays a big role in your transportation options. There were public buses that allowed people with wheelchairs or scooters in a few of the towns I’ve lived in. It’s not as common in smaller towns. However, someone once mentioned to me that there are companies that can provide you with transportation if you live out in the boonies.

  3. I think how you said that a seatbelt should always be used for people with a wheelchair is such good advice! It might be a good idea to make sure that a professional is used when making big moves for people in wheelchairs to make sure that they always have all of the safety precautions provided. I have a grandmother who is in a wheelchair and know that I want her to be safe no matter what way she is being transported whether it is a professional helping or one of my relatives.

  4. Thanks for the heads up on different options for seating restraints. My son recently got a wheelchair and my family will be leaving for a trip soon, so knowing what is out there for restraints is a great idea. Help from wheelchair transport drivers would ease a lot of stress for the family trip.

  5. Thanks for your tip to look for wheelchair accessibility in the area that you are planning on using your vehicle. I like how you said that you should keep in consideration your personal health when looking too. My sister is considering wheelchair transport since she uses one and needs to continue using her car to get to places.

  6. Thanks for pointing out that we should be aware of the surroundings and condition of the patient before buying a wheelchair. Like you said, some patients can easily lift their bodies when transferring to and from the wheelchair, while some can’t. My grandmother just started having mobility issues, so I plan to buy her a wheelchair. It appears that I should pick one that will be the easiest to use for her since she doesn’t have the strength to lift her body anymore.