Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development (JRRD)

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Volume 50 Number 2, 2013
   Pages 239 — 252

Abstract — Safety, usability, and independence for wheelchair-seated drivers and front-row passengers of private vehicles: A qualitative research study

Linda van Roosmalen, PhD;1* Nichole Ritchie Orton, MS;2 Lawrence Schneider, PhD2

1Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA; 2Biosciences Division, University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, Ann Arbor, MI

Abstract — A survey and observational study was conducted with 29 people who remain seated in their wheelchair when driving (21) or riding as a front-row passenger (8) in their personal vehicle. Each subject was observed and surveyed in their own personal vehicle that has been modified for use by occupants seated in wheelchairs. Our survey obtained responses on issues related to occupant restraint (seat belt) system usage, wheelchair securement device usage, and perception of personal safety while riding in a vehicle. Usability and accessibility issues related to seat belt and automated (docking) wheelchair securement technology were revealed, suggesting that wheelchair-seated occupants travel with a higher risk of serious injury in vehicle crashes than front-row occupants seated in original equipment manufacturer (OEM) vehicle seats and using OEM seat belts. Study results also indicate the need for improved torso support for many wheelchair-seated drivers to maintain a posture that allows for effective vehicle control. Study results demonstrate the need for innovative passive restraint technologies that provide postural support during normal vehicle operation and improved occupant restraint during crash conditions for people who drive while seated in their wheelchairs.

Key words: driving, injury, occupant restraint, postural support, safety, seat belt, securement, vehicle, wheelchair, wheelchair-seated driver.


View HTML  ¦  View PDF  ¦  Contents Vol. 50, No. 2
This article and any supplementary material should be cited as follows:
van Roosmalen L, Ritchie Orton N, Schneider L. Safety, usability, and independence for wheelchair-seated drivers and front-row passengers of private vehicles: A qualitative research study. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2013;50(2):239–52.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1682/JRRD.2011.11.0217
ResearcherID: Linda van Roosmalen, PhD: B-7909-2013
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Last Reviewed or Updated  Tuesday, April 23, 2013 9:38 AM

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