Meet Adaptive Driving Equipment Experts

What Is Adaptive Driving Equipment?

One of the biggest landmark moments in recovery for those who have lost a limb or experienced a severe spinal injury is beginning to drive again. Today, numerous options are available to adapt vehicles for anyone’s particular needs. Whether creating a new adaptive vehicle from the ground up, such as wheelchair vans, or retrofitting an existing one with recent adaptive technologies, below is some information to help you make the best choices for your own unique circumstances.

Who can help? Who knows the answers to questions you have? And how do you become “approved” to take the wheel again?

The Experts

Manufacturers: There are two different types of manufacturers–those who build vehicles themselves, and those who build adaptive equipment like wheelchair van equipment or 63a adaptive speed control devices. The latter may specialize in manufacturing add-on components that are bolted to an existing vehicle or performing structural alterations to accommodate a person’s needs, such as raising the roof or lowering the floor. The manufacturers of products added to vehicles are known as equipment manufacturers, and the manufacturers who specialize in structural and mechanical alterations are known as modifiers, alterers, or second-stage manufacturers.

Dealers: Dealers, or retailers, are the source of your adaptive equipment. They are the people who sell you the modifications, packages, or modified vehicles you need. Essentially, the are the distributors and representatives of the manufacturers and conversion experts who create these products.

Driver Trainers and Evaluators: Evaluators are professionals whose job is to observe and determine the specific adaptive equipment needs of each individual with a disability who is seeking to drive again. They also specialize in providing adequate training people with disabilities to correctly use and operate their modified vehicles. The Association of Driver Rehabilitation Specialists can connect you with a local evaluator or trainer.

National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA): This is the association responsible for administering and establishing safety and quality standards for mobility equipment, including adaptive vehicles and wheelchairs. The NMEDA runs a Quality Assurance Program for dealers within the industry. Their website is a source of contact information for facilities specializing in vocational rehabilitation and veterans administration, along with a comprehensive listing of available rebate programs.