Additional Resources

NHTSA is the federal government agency with the authority to regulate the manufacture of automotive adaptive equipment and modified vehicles used by persons with disabilities.

Consumer Information

Adapting Motor Vehicles for People With Disabilities (HTML) (also available in PDF)
A Proven Process for Gaining Freedom on the Road. The introduction of new technology continues to broaden opportunities for people with disabilities to drive vehicles with adaptive devices. Taking advantage of these opportunities, however, can be time consuming and, sometimes, frustrating.

Transporting Students With Special Needs
The Traffic Safety Digest lists school bus programs that have been administered across the nation. Learn about project characteristics, state and size of jurisdiction and targeted populations. This link, the Fall 1997 issue, highlights a program in Iowa for transporting students with special needs.

Search Adapted Vehicle Modifier Identification Database
Certain motor vehicle repair businesses make significant modifications to vehicles specifically to accommodate persons with disabilities. Businesses that do so generally need to assure that the vehicle continues to comply with the FMVSS except under specified circumstances identified in 49 CFR Part 595, Exemption From the Make Inoperative Prohibition. Modifiers that use these exemptions must affix a label to each affected vehicle stating that it may no longer comply with all FMVSS, and must identify themselves to NHTSA. This database contains selected information submitted by those businesses to us. NHTSA does not approve motor vehicles or motor vehicle equipment items, nor does the agency endorse any commercial products or vendors.

(research studies and reports can be found on page 2)

Studies & Reports

Transportation Availability and Use Study for Persons with Disabilities, 2002 (Bureau of Transportation Statistics)

Hand Control Safety Assessment Report
Five mechanical hand controls and two portable hand controls were subjected to vibration and environmental testing (SAE J1903 test procedure) and sled testing to judge performance in a 30 mph frontal crash. Report also contains a review of information from states the number of drivers with license restrictions related to adaptive driving equipment.

Performance Testing for FMVSS 135 - Passenger Car Brake Systems
Standard FMVSS 135 testing done on a sedan equipped with 5 different mechanical hand controls

Air Bag Interaction with and Injury Potential from Common Steering Control Devices, Phase I
Report # DOT HS 808 580, is available from the National Technical Information Service at 703-487-4650. Ask for publication PB 97 167233/LL. Cost $47 + shipping and handling.

Air Bag Interaction with and Injury Potential from Common Steering Control Devices, Phase II
Abstract of the Final Report, March 1998

Literature Review of the Status of Research on the Transportation and Mobility Needs of Older Women
The Department of Preventive Medicine of the University of Iowa College of Medicine was contracted to prepare a document addressing the research needs for maintaining the safe mobility of older women in the United States, with an emphasis of automobile driving as well as other modes of transportation. This activity was funded by a grant from the National Safety Council.

Common Vehicle Modifications for Persons with Disabilities
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) asked BTS to summarize information from a Louisiana Tech University Survey of Mobility Equipment Dealers concerning vehicle modifications for persons with disabilities. The survey was conducted in the summer of 2000, and asked respondents (2,100 mobility equipment dealers in the United States) to provide information for a one-year period (June 1, 1999 through May 31, 2000). Responses were received from 101 dealers within 35 states.

Safety Issues for Vehicles Adapted for Use by Persons with Disabilities

Estimating the Number of Vehicles Adapted for Use by Persons with Disabilities
NHTSA is interested in estimating the size of the population of vehicles adapted specifically for transporting persons with disabilities, as it is not presently known how many vehicles have such adaptations. NHTSA is also interested in the safety of vehicles with adaptive equipment.

Wheelchair Users Injuries and Deaths Associated with Motor Vehicle Related Incidents
The NEISS data on injuries to wheelchair users within a motor vehicle were examined to develop national estimates of the numbers of injuries and deaths caused by improper lift malfunction or improper wheelchair securement.