How Can I Get A Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle?

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The Requirements Of Owning Or Driving A Special Needs Vehicle

For people with Disabilities or special needs, having access to appropriate transport is extremely important. Although there is still a long way to go, there has been improvements in access to disability vehicles or vehicle modifications to suit special needs.

Businesses like Quality Accessible Vehicles (QAV) have Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs) and Mobility Vans for sale and rent.

However, those with disabilities or special needs seeking to drive a modified vehicle for the first time may find it daunting due to a lack of knowledge. Below we will discuss some of the requirements and guidelines for driving and owning a modified vehicle.

Obtaining A Disability License

Quality Vehicle Modification

In addition to this, the disabled driver must first be assessed by a qualified Occupational Therapist before having a vehicle suitably modified or driven. You can find a qualified Occupational Therapist at the Australian Occupational Therapist website.

If modifications have already been made and approved, the driver needs to attend a registry or service centre to have the conditions of the modifications recorded on their driver’s license and possibly their registration depending on the modifications.

The Requirements Of A Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle Or Modified Vehicle

In addition to the driver obtaining appropriate licensing, there is an assessment process required for any modified vehicle or WAV before being driven. Modified vehicles done in Australia must achieve a compliance certificate by the Roads And Maritime Services. Changes to a vehicle that are not classed as a modification or are a minor modification will not be required to be assessed, but those classed as a significant modification will.

There are 2 key methods of certifying a modified vehicle:

Method 1: Compliance With The Australian Design Rules And Other Standards

A vehicle can be individually assessed by a licensed certifier for compliance with the Australian Design Rules (ADRs) and other relevant standards required. A licensed certifier may require other tests to be performed to ensure the safety of the vehicle complies with all relevant safety standard.

Method 2: Certified Aftermarket Components

Aftermarket components used to convert a vehicle into a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle or modified vehicle may not require detailed testing if they are manufacturer certified and meet the RMS Aftermarket Parts Guide.

The above methods are relevant to having a vehicle modified in Australia or specifically NSW, however do no take into account factory-made Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles or vehicles manufactured for special needs. In those cases, they would have their own safety and design assessments whether overseas or in Australia but of course must still comply with the same general requirements as modified vehicles.

Common Components Or Modifications To A Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle Or Modified Vehicle

Every person with a disability will prioritise or require specific components in a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle. The following are common modifications for vehicles used by people with a disability:

  • Structural Modifications: These are considered significant and require certification by the RMS. These can include lowering the floor and roof extension.
  • Access: These changes will affect the entering and exiting of disabled passengers. These include ramps, hand rails and hoists to lift or lower the passenger. They may be manual, hydraulic powered or a combination of the two.
  • Controls: Some changes to controls will be deemed significant by the RMS. If driving controls have been modified, a warning label must be displayed prominently in the vehicle.
  • Occupant Restraints: These refer to seatbelts and other restraints to keep wheelchairs and disabled passengers secure in the vehicle.
  • Wheelchair Docking: Wheelchair docking systems are specifically manufactured to suit various models of wheelchairs and work in conjunction with seatbelt systems.
  • Dual Purpose Driver Seating Provision: This refers to the driver’s seating position in a vehicle being able to support both a disabled driver and able-bodied driver.
  • Seating Support: Specifically for wheelchair accessible vehicles, a headrest and backrest will be available for support as well as reducing risk of injury in the event of a crash.

Quality Accessible Vehicles (QAV) provides Australia with high quality and affordable wheelchair accessible vehicles and vehicle modifications and have over 25 years of experience. With wheelchair accessible vehicles for sale as well as Vehicle Hire/Rentals, we help you get from A to B with no limits. Enquire today at 0415 921 780 or contact us online.

For further information on vehicles for disability or obtaining a disability license, visit the Roads And Maritime Services website: