This provides a new level of freedom. No more transfers or loading of wheelchairs. Just wheel into the vehicle, dock the wheelchair into the driving position and off you go!
It is possible to import a fully adapted vehicle or the conversion can be done locally according to your needs, but is currently limited to the larger Mini Vans. It is an expensive conversion, but it gives independence, it helps reduce long-term shoulder damage associated with normal transfers.
When selecting a vehicle it is important to measure it and the wheelchair driver accurately to ensure that the roof is high enough and that the driver’s feet and footplates can fit under the steering wheel while still getting close enough to the steering wheel to drive. The vehicle must have a flat floor.
Modifications that may be required include:
- Adding a ramp or lift (some imported vehicles have hydraulic suspension to lower the vehicle when loading to reduce the required ramp length.)
- Removing the driver’s seat and fitting a docking station to secure the wheelchair while driving.
- Addition of hand controls according to the driver’s needs.
- Lowering of the floor in case the roof is not high enough.
- Enhancing the power steering if the driver has limited strength in their arms.
- The steering wheel may need to be extended and raised.
- Removing rear seats to give space to manoeuvre the wheelchair.
A docking station is a quick release securement system which holds the wheelchair in position while driving in conjunction with the standard seat belt. It is a great solution for wheelchair drivers and passengers who want the independence of quickly securing their own wheelchair using a single point system. A base lock is fitted to the floor of the vehicles, and a heavy duty docking pin is fitted to the bottom of the wheelchair, which slots into the lock. The automatic locking mechanism simply requires that you guide your wheelchair over the top of the lock until the interface on your wheelchair is fully engaged into the docking station. Once you have reached your destination, release the wheelchair from the station with the touch of a conveniently located push-button switch. All imported docking stations have been crash tested.