More safety on wheels? — No gua­ran­tee for wheel­chair users

Millions of people are involved in car accidents every year - some have few consequences, while others stay with you for life.

Wheel­chair users are forgotten

Mil­li­ons of peo­ple are invol­ved in car acci­dents every year. Some have hardly any con­se­quen­ces, while others accom­pany a per­son for a life­time. Accor­din­gly, car manu­fac­tu­r­ers try to mini­mize every small safety defect or risk fac­tor as much as possible.

But what if an important part of the popu­la­tion is for­got­ten? Peo­ple who are eit­her tem­po­r­a­rily or per­ma­nently con­fi­ned to a wheel­chair often do not have the oppor­tu­nity to bene­fit from these impro­ve­ments. This is very para­do­xi­cal, because it is pre­cis­ely for this part of the popu­la­tion that increased safety is even more important. Impro­ve­ments to the air­bag sys­tem are not very effec­tive for them. The three-point seat belt is also only an effec­tive method of pre­ven­ting serious inju­ries for non-rest­ric­ted people.

Rules and regulations

Of course, there are also regu­la­ti­ons on how a wheel­chair can be trans­por­ted in a car. Strict regu­la­ti­ons must be adhe­red to when secu­ring the wheel­chair. Unfort­u­na­tely, secu­ring the wheel­chair is com­pli­ca­ted and even small mista­kes can have serious con­se­quen­ces. If the wheel­chair is not com­ple­tely sta­bi­li­zed, even light stop-and-go traf­fic and tight bends can cause the wheel­chair to come loose. This in turn can lead to damage to the per­son and the wheel­chair. Wheel­chairs are often fra­gile and the sligh­test damage can mean that the wheel­chair can no lon­ger be used wit­hout appro­priate repairs. A high level of trust must be pla­ced in large trans­port ser­vice pro­vi­ders. It also takes expe­ri­ence to secu­rely fix a wheelchair.

Sta­bi­li­zed is not always stabilized

Even in the best case sce­na­rio, i.e. when the wheel­chair is cor­rectly secu­red, tight bends and stop-and-go maneu­vers can cause extreme dis­com­fort. The dri­ving style of the dri­ver is also cru­cial. Ent­rus­ting the wheel­chair to an unknown per­son is unavoidable.
These pro­blems ulti­m­ately raise the fol­lo­wing ques­tion: What would be other ways to sta­bi­lize wheel­chair users in the car?

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Pierre Schmit