Automotive Resources for Consumers

Info for People on the Go!

Are your adaptive automotive clients looking for information on getting assessed to drive a car or van? Maybe they need advice on transporting a wheelchair or scooter, or information on insurance or funding. Or perhaps they have all of the equipment they need and just want to get going! Whatever their needs, here are Web site resources to answer their questions and help make their drive safer and more enjoyable. Pass these on to your customers before they hit the road.

ADAPTIVE AUTOMOTIVE EQUIPMENT

Abilities Expos: Exhibitors at this national series of shows/conferences for people with disabilities include automotive access and adaptive automotive equipment manufacturers, plus local mobility dealers showing off automotive conversions for sale.
www.abilitiesexpo.com
www.questex.com

AllAbilities.com: General-interest Web site for people with disabilities includes a Travel & Transportation section with information on making travel safer and more enjoyable, plus links to manufacturers in the automotive access and adaptive automotive equipment industries.
www.allabilities.com/travel.html

Brain Injury Resource Foundation: Consumer information on how various types of brain injuries can affect driving, with a focus on educating those recently injured. Web site sections include FAQs; "Driving Concerns" sections for people who have been diagnosed with strokes, traumatic brain injury, MS, cerebral palsy, suggestions for easy and safe transferring; and adaptive equipment, from converted vehicles to scooter/wheelchair lifts and ramps.
www.birf.info/home/library/transport/trans_automob.html

Car Talk's Special Needs Zone: A good general-interest Web site includes a sizable section on adaptive automotive equipment and driver assessment, with plenty of links to both. Also includes links to find help with insurance, funding, Veterans' affairs and travel.
www.cartalk.com/content/features/Special-Needs/mobility-links.html

Disabled Dealer: Regional publications spotlight adaptive automotive equipment and converted vehicles, plus articles on accessibility, advocacy, events and other consumer-related topics on disabilities. Go to the Web site to request a complimentary copy of Disabled Dealer, or to locate a local mobility equipment dealer.
www.disableddealer.com

Enjoy the Drive: Basic consumer information on adaptive automotive equipment, driving controls and vehicle conversions, plus descriptions of assessments for drivers and passengers with disabilities. It's a great place to start, whether consumers are seeking information on safely securing scooters and wheelchairs inside their vehicles, or seeking advice on payment options. Part of the Specialty Equipment Market Association's (SEMA) Web site.
www.enjoythedrive.com/content/?id=21973

Inside Line at Edmunds.com: Archived discussions on the best minivans and vans for people with disabilities.
http://townhall-talk.edmunds.com/direct/view/.ee95079

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) Automotive Safety Issues for Persons with Disabilities: Offers research reports, information on federal regulations and standards, and safety test results.
www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/rules/adaptive/

National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA): Industry organization dedicated to educating dealers and consumers on adaptive automotive equipment choices, proper installation and maintenance, safety and regulatory issues, and maintaining personal freedom.
www.nmeda.org

Rehabilitation Engineering & Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA): Industry organization that creates, develops and measures new assistive technology products and their impact on end-users.
www.resna.org

Search Tips

AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT

ADA & IT Technical Assistance Centers: Information and links about traveling by ground and air.
www.adata.org/transport.html

ADA Business Connection: The Department of Justice's links to various federal documents that explain the Americans with Disabilities Act and how the ADA must be applied to businesses, construction, service animals and travel.
www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/learnada.htm

Bureau of Transportation Statistics: Information on how people with disabilities travel, the equipment they choose and use, and the challenges they face.
www.bts.gov/publications/freedom_to_travel/html/data_analysis.html

Bus & Transit Accessibility: Information on accessibility requirements for public transportation.
www.dotcr.ost.dot.gov/asp/busacc.asp

DRIVER ASSESSMENT, TRAINING & EDUCATION

American Association for Retired Persons (AARP): Offers a course for mature drivers, with topics ranging from defensive driving to awareness of driving abilities. Also provides tips to help seniors drive more safely, and a self-quiz to determine if driving skills need a refresher.
www.aarp.org

American Driver and Traffic Safety Education Association: Members include elementary and secondary school teachers, vocational rehab specialists and commercial driving school instructors. The organization works with ADED to promote driver rehabilitation specialist education.
http://adtsea.iup.edu/adtsea/

American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA): An "Older Driver" section focuses on safe driving skills for older drivers and gives tips on self-assessment and how concerned family members and friends can assess seniors' ability to drive. Includes advice for caregivers and how to talk about safe driving with seniors. The Web site focuses on preserving independence and mobility. Bonus: A section for professionals includes continuing education information, resources and a "toolkit" with adaptive equipment information and downloadable safe-driving brochures and fact sheets.
www.aota.org/olderdriver/consumers.html

Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists (ADED): Provides driver and passenger assessment as a key component to choosing the right adaptive automotive equipment, determining abilities and needs, and maximizing independence.
www.driver-ed.org

Driver's Edge: Devoted to combating the number one killer of teenagers, this national driver's training program is offered free of charge to young drivers aged 15 to 21 years and their parents. The hands-on sessions are taught by professional racecar drivers.
www.driversedge.org

Drivers.com: Research reports and statistics on older drivers, plus advice on how seniors can stay safe behind the wheel.
www.drivers.com/topic/70/

KCET.org: Features public television transcripts of discussions about older drivers and safety.
www.kcet.org/search/?q=older+drivers

Roadwise Review: Auto Club CD helps seniors self-assess their "driving health" via eight physical and mental skills tests.
www.aaa.com

REBATES & REIMBURSEMENT

DaimlerChrysler Motor Co.: Offers rebates/financial assistance for consumers who purchase selected Chrysler, Jeep or Dodge vehicles and adaptive equipment.
www.automobility.daimlerchrysler.com

Ford Motor Co.: Offers rebates/financial assistance to consumers who purchase selected Ford vehicles and adaptive equipment.
www.mobilitymotoringprogram.com

General Motors Corp.: Offers rebates/financial assistance to consumers who purchase selected Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, HUMMER, Oldsmobile, Pontiac or Saturn vehicles and adaptive equipment.
www.gmmobility.com

Lexus Mobility Assistance Program: Offers rebates/financial assistance to consumers who purchase selected Lexus vehicles and adaptive equipment. Search under "Lexus Mobility."
www.lexus.com

Toyota Mobility: Offers rebates/financial assistance to consumers who purchase selected Toyota vehicles and adaptive equipment.
www.toyota.com/mobility

TRAVEL

ADA & IT Technical Assistance Centers: Information and links about traveling by ground and air.
www.adata.org/transport.html

Budget rental cars: Information on renting accessible cars. www.budget.com

Fodors.com: Advice for travelers with disabilities covering topics such as what to do in emergencies, finding accessible lodging, and traveling by air, car, bus and train. Search using key word "accessible."
www.fodors.com

RVAmerica.com: This Internet headquarters for the recreational vehicle industry offers links to RV manufacturers who make accessible vehicles.
www.rvamerica.com/data/rvdisable.htm

Winnebago Industries: Downloadable pamphlets on accessible motor homes for consumers who want to travel in style.
www.winnebagoind.com/html/products/commVehicles/ability.html


Search Tips

Looking for products or information such as automobile conversions, wheelchair lifts or ramps, driving controls, wheelchair securement systems or other equipment for inside your car or van? Use the search words "adaptive automotive equipment." For Web sites with information for older drivers, use the search words "senior drivers." For travel information, including accommodations, try the search word "accessible."

This article originally appeared in the January 2006 issue of Mobility Management.

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