New standards in wheelchair transportation tie-downs provide increased safety for passengers
As wheelchair travel becomes more accessible and available, new requirements also ensure that it remains safe.
Industry standards set in place by the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) in 2002 required wheelchair tie downs that keep the total impact of the passenger to the vehicle. Meaning, the shoulder strap and lap belt connect to the vehicle, not the wheelchair.
The new standards set to take place December 2015, separate the loads so the chair tie downs are secured to the vehicle and the three-point passenger safety belt is secured to the chair.
The new wheelchair-anchored seatbelts will provide a better fit on the passenger, securing in at the safest belt location, lower on the pelvis; eliminate the chance of the belt getting caught on another part of the chair, as is common with vehicle-anchored belts; and increase ease of use for the passenger to provide fast and independent security.
In order to comply with the new standards, safety belts and tie-downs are tested in 30 mph crash using a wheelchair and average weight dummy.
For more information, visit resna.org.