Adapted automobile

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Mutual Aid Amputee Foundation conference attendees examining hand controls.[1]

An adapted automobile is an automobile adapted for ease of use by disabled people. Automobiles, whether a car or a van, can be adapted for a range of physical disabilities.

Hand controls[edit]

Foot pedals can be raised, or replaced with hand-controlled devices. Automotive handicap hand controls make it possible to adjust the acceleration as well as apply the brakes, in a similar way regular foot pedals,[2][3] The hand controls are being tested using SAE guidelines for Automotive Adaptive Driver Controls, which mandates weather exposure, vibration, and cycle testing.[4]

Automatic transmission and ergonomic adaptations, such as a lumbar support cushion, may also be needed.[5]

Wheelchair access[edit]

A wheelchair-adapted taxi in Cheltenham, UK.

Wheelchair lifts, ramps or hoists, may be customized according to the needs of the driver.

A transfer board or seat lift facilitate the transfer from the wheelchair into the vehicle.[6]


Generally, the more limiting the disability, the more expensive the adaptation needed for the vehicle. Financial assistance is available through some organizations, such as Motability in the United Kingdom, which requires a contribution by the prospective vehicle owner. Motability makes vehicles available for purchase or lease.[7] When an employee with a disability requires an adapted car for work use, the employee does not have to pay for a "reasonable adjustment" in the United Kingdom; if the employer is unable to pay the cost, assistance is offered by government programs.[8]


A challenge for mobility-impaired drivers is renting a vehicle when they travel. Organizations that specialize in adaptive tourism can assist in finding a vehicle, when possible. In New Zealand, Enable Tourism is an organization that helps drivers with disabilities to locate car rentals offering adapted cars or vans.[9] In France, adapted cars with hand-controls are available from leading car rental businesses, however, it is advisable for drivers with disabilities to reserve a car well in advance of travelling.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Less than four blog Amputee Social Network
  2. ^
  3. ^ Veigel hand controls
  4. ^ Paraplegia News Sept 2009. "Hand control testers needed" by Gale Cengage
  5. ^ Dimond, Bridget C. (2009). Legal Aspects of Physiotherapy. John Wiley & Sons. p. 263. ISBN 9781405176156. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ Dimond, Bridget C. (2011). Legal Aspects of Occupational Therapy. John Wiley & Sons. pp. n.p. ISBN 9781444348163. 
  8. ^ Disability Rights Commission (2004). Disability Discrimination Act 1995: Code of Practice ; Employment and Occupation. The Stationery Office. p. 5. ISBN 9780117034198. 
  9. ^ Harper, Laura and Tony Mudd, Paul Whitfield (2002). Rough Guide to New Zealand 3. Rough Guides. p. 69. ISBN 9781858288963. 
  10. ^ Dodd, Jan (2004). Rough Guide to the Dordogne the Lot 2. Rough Guides. p. 57. ISBN 9781843532484. 

External links[edit]