You’ve been admiring a van at the local auto dealership and decide it is time to buy your first accessible vehicle. The salesman has a great spiel and suggests that it can be converted to an accessible vehicle nearby. But wait:
- Does he know if the vehicle’s suspension is strong enough to bear the weight of the conversion, adaptive equipment, a wheelchair and all the passengers?
- Does he know if the roof and door can be raised if need be? Or the floor lowered?
- Does he know if there is a heavy-duty electrical system for the accessories?
If you are purchasing your first accessible vehicle, you should first visit your local mobility dealer. A mobility dealer knows which vehicles can be modified and which are more easily modified. They know which modifications require removing parts, how to replace them, how to increase the overall height of the vehicle and much more.
An automotive salesperson knows the vehicles he is selling, but a mobility dealer or adaptive equipment distributor knows the vehicles and understands the unique needs of a person with disabilities. No two people with disabilities are the exactly the same, beware of cookie-cutter solutions.
For example, if the dealer is not a mobility dealer and sells you a van with luxury extras, that may be money down the drain, as they may have to be removed before converting the vehicle.
Save time and money by consulting with a mobility dealer before making decisions. Deal with a company that can modify a vehicle you already own or provide you with a complete new or used modified vehicle.
Accessible mobility dealers are located across the country. To determine which vehicle and adaptive equipment you need, contact a nearby mobility dealer and a Certified Driving Rehabilitation Specialist (CDRS). Find them at the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) website (www.NMEDA.com), 1-866-948-8341 and www.driver-ed.org.
This mobility safety update has been brought to you by NMEDA – the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association. Need some information on how to make your vehicle wheelchair accessible or upgraded with the latest and most convenient features? Contact a NMEDA dealer in your local area. Your local NMEDA member is a mobility equipment and accessibility expert!