Tag Archives: driving

Aging and Driving

As we all age, changes occur in physical functioning, vision, perception, and processing abilities that could make driving unsafe. While changes are inevitable, they occur at different rates in each individual, and age alone is not a good indicator of driving skills. Most often these changes occur slowly over a long period of time, and the individual is able to compensate for minor deficits. If several skill areas are affected, or there is a sudden change in abilities due to illness or disease, driving may become impaired. An evaluation is recommended if you, or those who drive with you, notice any of the following warning signs.

Warning Signs:

  • Doesn’t observe signs, signals, or other traffic
  • Needs help or instructions from passengers
  • Slow or poor decisions
  • Easily frustrated or confused
  • Frequently gets lost, even in familiar areas
  • Inappropriate driving speeds (too fast or too slow)
  • Poor road position, or wide turns
  • Accidents or near misses

A driver rehabilitation specialist can provide a comprehensive evaluation and make recommendations regarding driving.

This assessment should include:

  • A review of medical history and medications
  • Functional ability
  • Vision
  • Perception
  • Reaction time
  • Behind-the-wheel evaluation

If you or those that drive with you notice any of the above warning signs and need a driving evaluation. Give us a call at 508-697-6006 and we can, help you with with knowledge about medical conditions, and help with a comprehensive evaluation and determine your ability to drive.

  • Visual Perception
  • Functional Ability
  • Reaction Time
  • Behind-the-wheel evaluation

Holiday Travel Tips

Millions of people will take to the highways, skies, or rails to visit their loved ones over the upcoming holiday. With snow and sleet predicted for many parts of the country this weekend, here are some travel tips to help holiday travelers arrive safely at their destination:


  • Make sure your vehicle is in good working order. Fill your gas tank, check the air pressure in your tires and make sure you have windshield fluid.
  • Buckle up, slow down, don’t drink and drive.
  • Avoid distractions such as cell phones – don’t text and drive.
  • Make frequent stops on long trips. If you’re too tired to drive, stop and rest.
  • If you have car trouble, pull off the road as far as possible.

Flying and Riding Trains

  • It’s flu season. If you’ve been sick or been in contact with someone who is sick, consider postponing your trip. You could be contagious for a week before symptoms appear.
  • Remember that everything you touch has to be touched by someone else – luggage handlers, etc. Handle your own belongings as much as possible. Wash your hands often with soap and water.
  • Carry hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial wipes with you. You can use them to wash your hands or wipe down surfaces such as armrests.
  • Bring your own pillows and blankets – they can act as a shield against the seat itself.
  • Avoid touching your face or eyes. If you have to cough or sneeze, do so into a tissue or your sleeve.

Travel Tips

  • If you have diabetes or take medication using a syringe, get a signed letter from your doctor  explaining that your syringes are a medical necessity.
  • Know the generic names of your medications so you can replace them if they are lost or stolen. Your medication will have a different brand name in another country.
  • If you have any life-threatening allergies, wear a medical alert bracelet and bring an Epi-pen kit.
  • Travel light. Take only what you need and no more.
  • Make sure your children know their home address and telephone number. Show them where to go if you get separated, and review the procedure for dealing with strangers.
  • Leave the jewelry at home and reduce your risk of getting robbed. The same goes for expensive electronics such as iPods and digital cameras. Buy some disposable cameras to use.
  • Make photocopies of your passports, credit cards and other ID. Leave one copy with a relative at home, and keep another copy separate from your originals.
  • Travel with only one credit card. Bring a combination of traveller’s cheques and cash in small bills (American money is universally accepted). You should be able to use your debit card as long as the machine has the CIRRUS symbol. You will be charged for each transaction. Try to familiarize yourself with the local currency so your first transaction won’t be so confusing.
  • Bring an extra pair of glasses or contact lenses as backup. You don’t want your vacation ruined because you can’t see anything.

The Importance Of Securing Your Wheelchair While Driving

Having proper restraints for your wheelchair is just as important as you using a seatbelt. There are two types of wheelchair restraints to secure your wheelchair while you are riding or driving; Manual and Electric.

Manual Restraints
Also Known as “tie-down” restraints, require caregiver assistance to ensure proper securement and safety.

Electric Restraints
Also known as power restraints, requires no assistance in use but involves mounting a device on the floor of the van and a device on the bottom of the wheelchair.When these devices are properly fitted they lock into place, creating an audible click, and sometimes use a buzzer and/or light to ensure safe locking.

To ensure safety there are also torso restraints, which may be used along with lap belts and wheelchair restraints to ensure top-notch security. To determine which combination of safety features is right for you contact your local mobility dealer to ensure your safety on the road.

How To Choose A Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle

When you’re choosing a wheelchair accessible vehicle, you need to think not only about all the same things you do when you’re choosing a standard car, but also other, more specific, things too. Just as when you’re choosing any other car, you may need to compromise and decide which features are most important to you.

Things To Consider


  • Will it fit on your driveway or in your garage? Don’t forget you need to think about the space required for the ramp/lift to be deployed
  • Will it be easy to drive in traffic and on the roads you normally drive on?


  • What’s the price?
  • If you’re buying it yourself, what’s the resale value likely to be?
  • What will it cost you to insure?
  • What’s the fuel consumption like?

Comfort and convenience

  • Can you get in and out easily?
  • Can you use the controls?
  • Is it quiet and smooth when you’re driving?
  • Is there good visibility for everyone in the vehicle?


  • Is there room for all the people and luggage you want to carry?
  • What about times when you might want to carry a lot of luggage or equipment (ex. holidays)?


  • Does it have everything you need?
  • What about air conditioning, automatic transmission, electric windows, remote start, heated seats, etc?


  • Does it give you reasonable speed and acceleration?
  • What about braking, ride and handling?

Specific considerations

Getting in and out

  • Will you choose a ramp or a lift?
  • Will you have someone to assist you?
  • Can you get in and out without hitting your head or having to duck?

Traveling position

  • Where will your wheelchair sit?
  • Will you be able to see out of the windows?
  • Will you be able to talk to other people easily?


  • How will you secure yourself and your wheelchair?
  • How will you secure any equipment you use to get in and out?
  • How will you secure anything else (unattended wheelchair, luggage, equipment, etc)?


  • Can you rely on the equipment you use to get in and out?
  • What happens if it breaks down?
  • Are there manual over-rides for any powered equipment?
  • Do you have a suitable dealer nearby for servicing?

Build quality

  • Different conversions have been built to different standards, so some will be more comfortable and less noisy inside than others.

Driving In A Wheelchair

With the right equipment driving can be a reality for many wheelchair users. Drivers have the option to transfer into the driver’s seat or drive from their wheelchair, whichever is most comfortable and convenient. Your mobility dealer can guide you through the range of options for your best driving experience.

  • The driver’s seat can easily be removed so you can drive from your wheelchair or transfer into the original seat.
  • Your mobility dealer can introduce you to the type of vehicle and the adaptive equipment that will make you comfortable behind the wheel.
  • You can drive from your wheelchair in any side-entry converted vehicle.
  • Rear-entry vehicles do not allow driving from a wheelchair.

Where To Begin: Accessibility Options

Vehicles can be adapted in many different ways, but the options are almost always dependent on how the wheelchair user plans to use it on a day-to-day basis. A few questions to consider when initially thinking about what you need are:

  • What’s the ideal location for the wheelchair user to sit in the vehicle?
  • Will the wheelchair user be driving?
  • Does the wheelchair user want to transfer out of their seat?
  • Is the wheelchair positioned at an extended height or width?

After those questions are answered, you can begin to look into the various accessibility conversions available to fit your vehicle needs. A few of the most common features include hand controls, transfer seats and ramp or lift style.

Driving Safely In Winter

Unfortunately, snow isn’t the only thing to watch out for while behind the wheel of a wheelchair accessible vehicle during the colder months. There’s also slush, black ice and blizzards. Fortunately, with the correct driving techniques, each can be handled stress free and safely.

Be Prepared
First and foremost, if you’ll be driving in the snow anytime soon, be prepared. This means having you car winterized before it’s needed. Depending on your location this can mean installing both snow tires and winter windshield wipers. Be sure to contact your local NMEDA dealer to find out if there are any special precautions you should take to get your handicap van ready for the snow. Additionally, have your battery, defroster, and antifreeze checked and stock your vehicle with emergency supplies like blankets, flashlights, food, water, shovel, sand, and first aid. Also, it’s a good idea to always have at least a half tank of gas. This gives the car some extra weight to help prevent skidding, but it’s also is safer in the event of getting lost or stranded. Finally, be sure to plan for extra time to get to your destination. You should never feel rushed or feel as if you have an excuse to speed.

Driving in Snow
First things first, slow down! Ten to fifteen miles per hour is a good speed of thumb when driving in snow. Always give yourself more stopping room because even in mild conditions, a little bit of skidding can be common. Also, try not to use cruise control. Your reaction time will not only be delayed, but if your vehicle begins to slide it will continue to accelerate. Make turns gently and avoid changing lanes unless necessary. If you must switch lanes, turn your wheel gradually to avoid fish tailing.

In the event you do slide off the road, don’t immediately try to gun it out or else you may dig yourself in. First, try a gentle acceleration. If this doesn’t get you out, stop and turn your wheel side to side to push snow away from the tires. Your best bet is to then use a shovel to clear snow and then spread sand for traction, however if you have limited mobility or use a wheelchair (meaning maneuvering in the snow might be difficult), it might be best to call a family member or emergency road service to help you get back on the road.

Driving on Ice
Iced over roads are one of the most dangerous aspects of driving during the winter. Black ice is hard to spot because it’s almost invisible, but if you begin to slide over it, take your foot off both the brake and the accelerator. Let your car slide and try to keep the car straight until you get traction back. If you lose control and start going off the road, try to guide your car toward an area with minimal damage possibilities. In general, look out for shady spots where the sun can’t melt the ground because black ice is more likely found here.

Driving in a Blizzard
If a blizzard hits while you’re out on the road, turn on your lights so that other drivers can easily see you, avoid changing lanes and be sure to pull over if you feel unsafe. If you do pull over, just make sure to get away from traffic and turn on your hazard lights.

If possible, avoid driving in the snow completely. If you do need to go out, many counties and towns list what roads have been plowed and salted online, so check to see if you can plan a safer route.

Hopefully with these tips you’ll now have a better understanding of how to handle your vehicle on winter roads. In general, if there’s any snow, ice, or slush on the road, driving slower and giving enough stopping room will eliminate many of the problems you might face. Add some common sense and good judgment, and you’ll be well on your way to mastering inclement weather.

Holiday Travel Tips

Millions of people will take to the highways, skies, or rails to visit their loved ones over the upcoming holiday. With snow and sleet predicted for many parts of the country this weekend, here are some travel tips to help holiday travelers arrive safely at their destination:


  • Make sure your vehicle is in good working order. Fill your gas tank, check the air pressure in your tires and make sure you have windshield fluid.
  • Buckle up, slow down, don’t drink and drive.
  • Avoid distractions such as cell phones – don’t text and drive.
  • Make frequent stops on long trips. If you’re too tired to drive, stop and rest.
  • If you have car trouble, pull off the road as far as possible.

Flying and Riding Trains

  • It’s flu season. If you’ve been sick or been in contact with someone who is sick, consider postponing your trip. You could be contagious for a week before symptoms appear.
  • Remember that everything you touch has to be touched by someone else – luggage handlers, etc. Handle your own belongings as much as possible. Wash your hands often with soap and water.
  • Carry hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial wipes with you. You can use them to wash your hands or wipe down surfaces such as armrests.
  • Bring your own pillows and blankets – they can act as a shield against the seat itself.
  • Avoid touching your face or eyes. If you have to cough or sneeze, do so into a tissue or your sleeve.

Travel Tips

  • If you have diabetes or take medication using a syringe, get a signed letter from your doctor  explaining that your syringes are a medical necessity.
  • Know the generic names of your medications so you can replace them if they are lost or stolen. Your medication will have a different brand name in another country.
  • If you have any life-threatening allergies, wear a medical alert bracelet and bring an Epi-pen kit.
  • Travel light. Take only what you need and no more.
  • Make sure your children know their home address and telephone number. Show them where to go if you get separated, and review the procedure for dealing with strangers.
  • Leave the jewelry at home and reduce your risk of getting robbed. The same goes for expensive electronics such as iPods and digital cameras. Buy some disposable cameras to use.
  • Make photocopies of your passports, credit cards and other ID. Leave one copy with a relative at home, and keep another copy separate from your originals.
  • Travel with only one credit card. Bring a combination of traveller’s cheques and cash in small bills (American money is universally accepted). You should be able to use your debit card as long as the machine has the CIRRUS symbol. You will be charged for each transaction. Try to familiarize yourself with the local currency so your first transaction won’t be so confusing.
  • Bring an extra pair of glasses or contact lenses as backup. You don’t want your vacation ruined because you can’t see anything.

Adaptive Driving Aids: Reduced Effort Modifications

Experienced users of adaptive driving aids, as well as those who have just been introduced to them, will appreciate the depth of experience and the number of options available to them here at VMi New England Mobility Center and Automotive Innovations, Inc.

Adaptive driving aids are as diverse as the people who use them, but they do fall into several distinct categories; basic driving aids, reduced effort modifications and advanced driving controls.

Reduced Effort Modifications

Reduced Effort Steering
Reduced effort modifications are used in conjunction with hand controls and other adaptations to reduce the physical strength required to perform the operations of braking and steering. Reduced effort braking and reduced effort steering are modification packages that make the steering wheel or brake pedal easier to turn or push. The level of assistance or “reduced-effort” is adjusted to the level prescribed by the driving rehabilitation specialist, based on the strength of the driver.

  • Drive-Master’s low effort and no effort braking modifications significantly reduces the required pressure needed to press down on a pedal to brake.
  • Drive-Master’s reduced effort steering modification reduces the amount of effort it takes to move a steering wheel. There is low effort to no effort available depending on the model of car and tire size.

Adaptive Driving Aids: Advanced Driving Controls

Experienced users of adaptive driving aids, as well as those who have just been introduced to them, will appreciate the depth of experience and the number of options available to them here at VMi New England Mobility Center and Automotive Innovations, Inc.

Adaptive driving aids are as diverse as the people who use them, but they do fall into several distinct categories; basic driving aids, reduced effort modifications and advanced driving controls.

advanced driving system

Advanced Driving Controls

Advanced driving controls, or “high-tech driving systems” have advanced tremendously over the years, thus creating options for drivers with higher levels of disability. Advanced driving controls are truly a custom solution. As a result, the key components of these systems are combined, fitted and installed based on an extremely thorough process of evaluation, prescription and fine-tuning.

Hand Controls
Hand Controls in the advanced driving aid category are of course more advanced and are typically for individuals with very limited mobility and strength for operating a vehicle. A slight touch of various adaptive devices allow the car to accelerate and brake with ease.

  • Electric Gas and Brakes are operated from an electric servo in the form of a joystick or lever input device. Individuals can then use their hands to control their speed and to brake.
  • Pneumatic Gas and Brakes are operated from an air pressure system and controlled by an easy joystick, foot pedal or other device.

Steering Controls

  • Horizontal Steering accommodates a limited range of motion when the driver cannot use a conventional steering wheel.
  • Reduced and Zero Effort steering is for users who do not have adequate strength to operate the vehicle with factory resistance levels.
  • Electric steering allows the steering control to be located almost anywhere to assist the operator. They can be operated in the forms of miniature steering wheels or joysticks.

Electronic Gear Selection
Electronic Gear Selection allows the operator to push a button for a gear selection.

Remote Accessory Controls

  • Voice Scan uses one to two targets or buttons to operate a multitude of functions within the vehicle while utilizing a verbal audible menu.
  • Single Touch allows vehicle functions to be moved to a different location in order to fit the needs of the disabled driver.

Winter-Maintenance Tips for Your Wheelchair Van

Winter Driving
Maintain Your Mobility Equipment

We recommend keeping the bottom door track of your handicapped van clear of any debris by vacuuming out the track every 2 or 3 weeks. Debris in the bottom track will cause the door motor to work harder and even weaken or burn out prematurely. Such problems will only be more of an inconvenience in cold weather.

Check Your Brakes
Make sure your brakes are in good working condition. You should never postpone having brake work done because you never know when you might have to drive on snowy or icy roads.

Check Your Lights
Headlights are essential in snowy weather; not only do they help you see clearly, but they also help others see you. So you make sure your lights are clean and that all bulbs and fuses are working properly.

Remember Your Fluids
We advise having all fluids (including brake fluid, antifreeze, washer fluid, transmission fluid, power-steering fluid, etc.) checked and “topped off.” In addition, we also recommend that you consider keeping a half tank of gas in your accessible vehicle at all times–you don’t want to run out of gas in an emergency.

Don’t Forget Your Battery
Having your battery checked is especially crucial for handicapped accessible vans. The cold weather is strenuous on any battery but even more so on an accessible van’s battery. An accessible van has to power ramps, lifts, and doors, so it uses more battery power than other minivans. A common problem we see at our Mobility Center is customers who do not drive their accessible van enough to keep the battery charged and healthy. You can keep the battery charged by driving your vehicle more than 3 hours a week or by using a battery charger. Under normal conditions, batteries will typically last for 3½ years, so if your battery is older than that, we recommend that you make sure that it’s in good condition or think about replacing it.

Good Tire Maintenance Is Crucial
Good tires might be one of the most essential driving tools in winter weather. Worn, bald, badly aligned, or badly balanced tires can cause accidents in any type of slippery weather. You’ll need to test the air pressure and tread on your tires and have your tires rotated so that the better ones are in the front for more traction and control. If you need new tires soon, don’t wait, get them now! If you have snow tires and live in areas with heavy and frequent snowfall, don’t hesitate to use them.

Don’t Forget Your Windshield
Taking care of the windshield on your wheelchair van entails more than having good wipers. Windshields on minivans and full-sized vans are large, so having good wipers and properly functioning rear and front defrosters are musts. Also, small dings in a windshield can become large cracks when it’s cold. Cracks are a result of the stress of having freezing temperatures on the outside of the windshield and the warm heater on the interior of the windshield. If this occurs, fix the ding and avoid the risk of replacing a costly van-sized windshield!

Snow Equipment
If you ever get stuck or break down in snow or other inclement winter weather, having the appropriate equipment to get yourself out of your vehicle is important. We recommend keeping a shovel, sidewalk salt, snow scraper/brush, jumper cables, spare tire, jack, and flares in your vehicle during the winter months. Also, if you live in an area with frequent and/or heavy snowfall, keep tire chains in your vehicle for extra traction.

Emergency Kit
Another recommendation is keeping a snow emergency kit in your car. Your emergency kit should include a cell phone, a cell-phone car charger, a blanket, a flashlight with good batteries, hand warmers, snacks, and water. Your kit should be able to keep you relatively comfortable while waiting in your vehicle for assistance to arrive. Please remember, if you’re waiting in your vehicle for assistance, make sure your exhaust pipe is clear of any snow or ice so carbon monoxide won’t enter the vehicle.

Lastly, we always recommend that, if you can, you stay in when the road conditions are bad. However, if you need to venture out, here are some precautions to remember when driving in bad weather:

Clear All Snow Off Your Vehicle
Make sure that you clear all of the snow and ice off of your vehicle before you go anywhere. Ice and snow clumps that aren’t cleared off can be very dangerous because they can suddenly shift and obstruct your view or fly off your vehicle into another driver’s view. Allow yourself extra time before venturing out to take the steps needed to clear all of the snow off your accessible vehicle—even if it includes asking a friend or neighbor for assistance.

Slow Down
Reducing your speed by 50% allows more control over your vehicle in the event that you begin to skid or hydroplane. However, slowing down too much or stopping on heavy snow-filled roads can cause a vehicle’s tires to spin and get stuck in the snow. While driving in snow, you should keep some momentum so that your tires are continuously moving and you don’t lose traction.

Recovering From a Skid
If you’re driving in inclement weather and your vehicle starts to skid, the best thing to do is to steer in the direction you want the front of the vehicle to go—and not hit your brakes. Your normal reaction might be to brake, but that can make the wheels lock up, making steering difficult. Driving in the snow can be dangerous, so if you aren’t comfortable, try to avoid the roads in severe weather.

Rust Prevention
Prevention is better than a cure. There are a number of products that can offer prevention against rust. Products are available either as oils, waxes, fluids and coatings.  The range is vast, but our rust prevention processes, product, plan and application has been found to be most effective. Our rust proofing is ever evolving and has been for over the past 25 years.

  • Our rust proofing formula does more than just cover the metal required, we apply it as a high-pressured spray, ensuring protection to your handicap accessible vehicle’s most critical areas by penetrating, displacing existing moisture and protecting the many vulnerable crevices of your automobile.


As seen in the picture below this van has heavy rust and metal fatigue due to a lack of maintenance.
IMG_0697Once the rust is this bad there’s not much we can do other than replace the van.
So call us or come in today to rust proof your van before it’s too late.

10 Simple Ways to Get Your Conversion Van Ready for winter

Winter Driving ahead

For anyone living in a northern state, Winter means rain, sleet, slush, snow and ice. Driving along icy roads is tricky at the best of times, and there’s not always a plow available to get your road clear in time to go to work for the day. Why not make your life a little easier now, by preparing your conversion van for the coming winter? You can do many small things before the snow starts to fall to make your winter that much easier to handle.

1. Get an oil change. Specifically, get the right sort of oil change. Oil won’t freeze in the kind of temperatures we see in the north, but it will get thicker. Thicker oil does a worse job of keeping your engine lubed up, which means more wear and tear on the moving parts you definitely don’t want to replace. Dirty oil gums up even worse, so get that oil changed before the temperatures drop.

2. Take steps to ensure visibility at all times. The most important and most neglected fluid for visibility is windshield washer fluid. Topping up that tank will save you plenty of headaches when you have to scrape frost off the glass or wait for a heater to melt it. A blast with wiper fluid and a few passes of the wipers will clear it right up. It helps if you clean your windshield inside as well. Of course, you should also have a good snowbrush and ice scraper stored away in the trunk or back seat. 

3. Perk up your battery. The cold and wet conditions of a typical winter can wreak havoc on a battery. Connections will corrode and the batter may lose the ability to hold a charge. The older a battery is, the more likely you’ll run into issues along the way. Most auto shops can test your battery’s ability to hold a charge, and can tell you if you need a new one. Get it looked at before you end up stalled on the side of the freeway.

4. Check the belts and hoses in your engine. Belts and hoses are made of rubber and plastic, which tend to get brittle as they age. The addition of road salt and icy water splashing up onto them only makes the process faster. Take your conversion van in to have it services and pay special attention to the belts and hoses, so you don’t end up dropping fluid or finding a snapped belt while you drive. 

5. Monitor your tire pressure. In wet and icy conditions, traction is key to keeping your conversion van on the road. Your tires are made to function best at a certain level of inflation, which varies depending on the tire. As the temperatures get colder, the pressure of the air in your tires will drop, at about 1 PSI per ten degrees. Keeping your tires inflated properly keeps them working as best they can. 

6. Switch to snow tires, if applicable. Snow tires aren’t for everyone. If you live in the middle of the city and the roads are plowed several times a day, you probably don’t need a lot of extra traction from your tires. On the other hand, if you live in an area with plenty of hills and the plows come few and far between, winter tires might be a good option. 

7. If you have four-wheel drive in your vehicle, test it out. Make sure the system engages smoothly. Since you probably don’t use the system much during the summer, it might have an issue that you don’t notice. Better to get it tested now than to discover it doesn’t work when you need it. Don’t forget to make sure that anyone driving your vehicle knows how to turn the system on and off. For new drivers experiencing their first winter in their parents’ conversion van, this can be all new. 

8. Check your engine coolant. Most conversion vans run on something between pure antifreeze and a half and half mixture of antifreeze and water. Diluted antifreeze is perfectly fine. It would take ridiculously low temperatures to freeze even a half and half mixture, so there’s no sense in wasting half a gallon of coolant when you don’t need it. You can test the mixture of antifreeze yourself, or take it to a mechanic. Check to see if your vehicle uses a special kind of antifreeze as well. Just remember that if you replace your antifreeze yourself, you need to dispose of the old coolant properly. It’s harmful to the environment and illegal in most places to pour antifreeze down the drain. 

9. Stock up on supplies and put together an emergency kit. In the event that something breaks and you’re stranded, having an emergency kit is a lifesaver. Here’s an idea of what you should have in your kit:

  • Blanket, boots, gloves and warm clothes
  • Emergency food and water
  • A snow brush, ice scraper and a small shovel
  • A flashlight with spare batteries and a set of road flares
  • Windshield wipers and extra fluid
  • Repair items like jumper cables, a tool kit, a tire pressure gauge and a spare tire
  • A first aid kit

10. Don’t forget your training. All the tools and supplies in the world won’t help you if you don’t know what to do when you’re broken down. If you’re likely to be stranded for an extended period, light flares for the front and back of your vehicle. Run the engine and heater only for short durations to save gas. Wear your warm clothes to keep warm instead. To prevent your conversion van from freezing shut, crack the window slightly. If you have hard candies with you, you can munch on them to keep your mouth from drying out. Of course, make sure you have contact numbers and a way to call for help if you do end up stranded.

Boston Abilities Expo– Event for People with Abilities–Makes Boston Debut September 20-22

Abilities Expo–the Nation’s Leading Event for People with Abilities–Boston September 20-22

boston abilities expo event for people with abilities september-20-22 vminnewengland.com

BOSTON, August 22, 2013 /VMiNewswire/ — VMi New England’s community of people with disabilities—which also includes families, caregivers, seniors, wounded veterans and healthcare professionals—welcomes the much-anticipated return of the Abilities Expo Boston on September 20-22, 2013 at The Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. Admission is free.

Abilities Expo has enjoyed tremendous success in bringing life-enhancing products and services, education, resources and fun to people with disabilities in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Houston, Atlanta and San Jose each year.

The Abilities Expo Boston will feature an impressive line-up of exhibits, celebrities, workshops, events and activities to appeal to people of all ages with the full spectrum of disabilities—including physical, learning, developmental and sensory disabilities.

“We are thrilled for the opportunity to bring Abilities Expo to Boston,” said David Korse, president and CEO of Abilities Expo. “We can’t wait help people explore the possibilities and open their eyes to all the things they can do.”

The Latest Products and Services
Attendees will experience cutting-edge products and services for people with a wide range of disabilities. They will find mobility products, devices for people with developmental disabilities, medical equipment, home accessories, essential services, low-cost daily living aids, products for people with sensory impairments and much more.

Relevant Workshops
A series of compelling workshops which address pressing disability issues will be offered free-of-charge to all attendees. Sessions will focus on travel, emergency preparedness, therapeutic recreation, thriving as a parent of a unique child, home accessibility, finding the correct mobility device and that is just for starters.

Sports, Instruction, Dancing and More!
Abilities Expo does not merely inform, it engages and it entertains. Attendees of all levels of ability will learn the latest hip hop dance moves and play a host of adaptive sports like rowing, power soccer and more. And the kids will love the face painting!

Meet the Animals
Animals have become an intrinsic part of the community of people with disabilities. Some are essential to the healing process, while others help their human partners become more independent. Expo-goers will enjoy assistance dog demos, and learn how service monkeys can help people with special needs.

Celebrity Encounters
Meet Chelsie Hill, co-founder of the dance sensation Team Hotwheelz and one of the dynamic divas of Push Girls, Sundance Channel’s award-winning, boundary-breaking docu-series that traces the lives of four women in Hollywood who happen to be in wheelchairs.

Jennifer French, silver medalist for Sailing at the 2012 Paralympian Games and the 2013 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year, will conduct a workshop and book signing for her new autobiography, On My Feet Again.

Come to VMi New England’s Mobility Center were every day is a Ability Expo

adaptive mobility equipment financing options

Adaptive equipment describes an installed device, in addition to a structural modification, that is necessary for a person with a permanent physical disability to drive or be transported in a vehicle.

adaptive mobility equipment financing options wheelchair vans newenglandwheelchairvan.com

Some equipment not thought of as typical adaptive equipment, or equipment which is not available from the factory, that serves a need to operate or ride in a vehicle for persons with disabilities such as but not limited to: assist handles, keyless entry, keyless ignition switch, lumbar support, headrest adjustment, pedal extensions power seats, remote liftgate opener, running boards, seat belt extenders, seat modifications, and special mirrors may be eligible for reimbursement and require additional documentation. You will be notified if additional documentation is needed such as a letter or prescription clearly describing the permanent physical disability requiring this equipment, prepared by a licensed or certified medical professional.

Factory installed options such as air conditioning, running boards, lumbar seats and power windows are not considered eligible under the terms of the program.

Driving is a privilege for people stroke survivors with limited mobility; it provides a sense of stability in their lives so they can regain their independence. They love the flexibility their adaptive mobility equipment provides, but they often face exorbitant costs when it comes to financing the purchase of the equipment.

“The number one reason people with disabilities don’t have access to adequate transportation is because they cannot afford it.” The good news is that funding assistance to purchase adaptive equipment is becoming increasingly available.

Sources of funding determine a person’s “buying power.” Unlike the financing options provided by original equipment manufacturers, Mobility Equipment Dealers, such as Vmi New England Mobility Center, have access to financing options specifically for adaptive equipment purchases; they offer options and solutions for the customer.


The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers grants enabling 100% service related disabled veterans to purchase a new or used modified vehicle and adaptive equipment. Automobile grants are available once in the service member’s lifetime and adaptive equipment grants are available for special equipment that may used more than once.  For more information, call 1-800-827-1000 or read the VA’s “Automobile and Special Adaptive Equipment Grants” fact sheet.

State Programs

  • State Vocational Rehabilitation (Voc Rehab) Agencies may be able to assist with the costs associated with purchasing an adaptive vehicle (or adding adaptive equipment to an existing one) if the vehicle is necessary in order for a person to get to and from work.
  • State Assistive Technology Loan Programs may also be able to provide assistance to help pay for modifications to the vehicle.
  • Center for Independent Living (CIL) can provide additional information on programs that may be available in your state.

Government Programs

  • Medicaid: Medicaid is a jointly administered federal and state program that helps with medical costs for some people with limited income and resources. Medicaid benefits differ by state and are approved on a case-by-case basis when a request for funding is presented through a prior approval.
  • Medicare: Medicare is a federal program and in some instances they will pay for adaptive equipment following a specialty evaluation performed by a qualified practitioner. For more information, call 1-800-633-4227.
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI): SSI offers a Plan to Achieve Self-Support program, or PASS, which helps those with disabilities pay for items or services needed to achieve a specific employment goal – to ultimately return to work.
  • Internal Revenue Service (IRS): Often sales-tax exemptions on equipment purchases and other out-of-pocket costs can qualify for tax deductions as medical expenses. Contact a tax adviser or get literature from the IRS that outlines the tax code for medical equipment by calling 1-800-829-1040 and asking for publications with extensions 3966, 907 and 502.

Workman’s Compensation:

Your insurance or workman’s compensation policies may also pay for vehicle adaptation. Check with your HR department or workman’s comp. organization for more information.

Fundraisers, Charitable Organizations/Churches

These may not be for everyone, but they can be effective and many people have successfully raised the money to pay for a wheelchair accessible vehicle and adaptive equipment using these options.

Automakers Rebate Programs

Many automobile makers are providing people with disabilities a wide range of rebates and incentive programs to cover adaptive equipment installation. Below is an overview of some programs offering rebates or reimbursements for adaptive mobility equipment.

  • Ford Motor Company: The Ford Mobility Motoring adaptive equipment reimbursement offers up to $1,000 off for a vehicle modification. You may also qualify for up to $200 for alert hearing devices, lumbar support, or running boards installed on any new Ford or Lincoln vehicle purchased or leased from a U.S. Ford or Lincoln dealer during the program period.
  • Daimler Chrysler Corporation: Once you have a 2010-2013 Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram or FIAT vehicle that fits your transportation needs, contact a reputable and qualified adaptive equipment installer to ensure that it can be adapted to meet your needs.
  • General Motors Company Reimbursement Program:  New vehicle purchasers/lessees who install eligible adaptive mobility equipment on their new Chevrolet, Buick or GMC vehicles can receive up to a $1,000 reimbursement for the cost of the equipment.
  • Toyota: The Toyota Mobility Assistance Program provides cash reimbursement of up to $1,000 of the cost of any aftermarket adaptive equipment or conversion, for drivers and/or passengers, when installed on any eligible purchased or leased new Toyota vehicle within 12 months of vehicle purchase or lease.

The decision to purchase adaptive mobility equipment stems from a need for mobility freedom for people with disabilities, including stroke survivors. The purchase process begins with selecting a reputable dealer to provide the adaptive equipment and installation, locating options to finance the purchase, and ends with insuring the adaptive equipment.

Make sure the after-market mobility modifications are professionally installed by a NMEDA mobility dealer. Once the adaptive mobility equipment is financed and installed, notify your insurance agent with a full disclosure of all adaptive mobility equipment installed in the vehicle.

Make sure your auto insurance company provides coverage for the conversion and adaptive equipment. Make sure you request coverage for “special” equipment, not just “handicapped” equipment.

  • “Handicapped equipment” covers only basic equipment such as the ramp or lift, not the lowered floor, kneeling system, lockdown system or other adaptive equipment.
  • “Special equipment” covers the conversion in its entirety. Be sure and send your insurance company an itemized list of every modification (which you can get from the mobility dealership that performed the conversion).

VMi New England Mobility Center is an advocate for mobility and accessibility for drivers with disabilities. If you need help with converting or buying a wheelchair accessible car, truck or van, please contact us at 508-697-6006  info@newenglandwheelchairvan.com

ON THE ROAD TO INDEPENDENCE By Lori A. Frankian 5/5/1997



By Lori A. Frankian 5/5/1997

Can you imagine waiting 14 years to get behind the wheel of your very first vehicle?  If you are physically challenged you may know what “waiting” is all about.  I am 30 years old and confined to an electric wheelchair due to Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a fabulous little disease that affects my muscles and nerve cells.  Why did I wait so long to get my license you ask? In all honesty, there was no real effort made to raise the money for a new van when I reached legal age to drive.  A year later at 17, I moved to Boston to attend Northeastern University and who needs a car while attending college in the city?  I attended the five year school, graduated and decided to remain in the city and establish a career for myself as an theatre / film administrator.  The years passed and my patience for traveling out of my way to find an accessible train station with operating elevators began wearing thin. It was definitely time to pursue the options available to me towards purchasing a van.  I had been missing out on so very much and I needed to move forward in my life.


After years of saving every penny that entered my pocket, I finally received the green light for modifications funding from the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission. It was time to purchase my van.  I bought a red Plymouth Voyager in June of 1994, and in a few months was driving on my own!


I no longer have to haul groceries home from the store in the pouring rain, losing half of them as they spill over the arms of my wheelchair.   I can drive my van home with as many bags as I want.  I do not have to struggle in 25 inches of snow when trying to get to work.  I now have my van to guide me wherever I want to go with ease.  I can travel to the most beautiful locations within the US for the very first time on my own.  Nobody will ever tell me that, “there isn’t time to stop.”  I am driving now and if want to stop, I am going to stop!  I could go on and on sharing the wonderful changes

that my new found independence allows but I am sure you get the picture.


I am so very thankful and appreciative of the people in my life that made it possible for me to get behind the wheel.  For starters, I thank my father for handling the constant wheelings and dealings between the car dealership and outside vendors.  He was very protective of my hard earned money and made sure that I got exactly what I was paying for and then some!

I thank Bob Sondheim at the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission for making sure that the funding was granted for the  modifications that allow me to operate my van.  Without my Dad or the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission,  I would not have had a van or modifications that would allow me to drive.


Last but not least, an enormous thank you goes to Jim Sanders at Automotive Innovations in Bridgewater, Massachusetts.  Jim and his wonderfully trained staff are responsible for building my van, putting every crucial piece of technology in its proper place and for making it operate with grace and efficiency. Automotive Innovations specializes in vehicle modifications and adaptive technology including high tech vans for physically challenged drivers. They are leaders in New England, known and respected for their quality, commitment and innovation. It’s the 90′s and technology is beyond our wildest dreams.  Automotive Innovations knows their stuff.


At first, I was intimidated by the electronic hand controls and the tiny steering wheel that I would drive with. I wondered, “will everything operate safely?” “Will my steering system fail to operate as I am driving down the highway?”  “What if my door jams and doesn’t allow the ramp to open, trapping me inside?”  These are a few of the questions that ran through my mind before Jim gave me a thorough explanation on all operation procedures and back up system functions.


Jim and his staff have been there for me from the get-go and I know they always will be.  I have called him on many occasions with questions and he was ready and willing to help me at a moments notice.   If it wasn’t for their high quality workmanship, I wouldn’t have the reliable form of transportation that I have today.  For that I will always be grateful.


Every time I get behind the wheel I am thankful that I have such an amazing form of independence to experience.  If independence is foreign to you, then I am sure you know where I am coming from.  If not, I ask that you appreciate the little things in life such as walking up steps and entering a public bathroom, finding it ready and willing to accept you.  Life should never be taken for granted.  It’s the little things in life that should be treasured because they can be taken away within an instant.  Even if it is as simple as driving down the street to pick up a cup of coffee!  Appreciate your freedom, I know I do!

Lori A. Frankian Boston, MA


Adapting Motor Vehicles for People with disAbilities

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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.

The information in this brochure is based on the experience of driver rehabilitation specialists and other professionals who work with individuals who require adaptive devices for their motor vehicles. It is centered around a proven process —evaluating your needs, selecting the right vehicle, choosing a qualified dealer to modify your vehicle, being trained, maintaining your vehicle — that can help you avoid costly mistakes when purchasing and modifying a vehicle with adaptive equipment.

Also included is general information on cost savings, licensing requirements, and organizations to contact for help. Although the brochure focuses on drivers of modified vehicles, each section contains important information for people who drive passengers with disabilities.



Investigate Cost Saving Opportunities &Licensing Requirements

Cost Saving Opportunities

The costs associated with modifying a vehicle vary greatly. A new vehicle modified with adaptive equipment can cost from $20,000 to $80,000. Therefore, whether you are modifying a vehicle you own or purchasing a new vehicle with adaptive equipment, it pays to investigate public and private opportunities for financial assistance.

There are programs that help pay part or all of the cost of vehicle modification, depending on the cause and nature of the disability. For information, contact your state’s Department of Vocational Rehabilitation or another agency that provides vocational services, and, if appropriate, the Department of Veterans Affairs. You can find phone numbers for these state and federal agencies in a local phone book. Also, consider the following.

  • Many nonprofit associations that advocate for individuals with disabilities have grant programs that help pay for adaptive devices.
  • If you have private health insurance or workers’ compensation, you may be covered for adaptive devices and vehicle modification. Check with your insurance carrier.
  • Many manufacturers have rebate or reimbursement plans for modified vehicles. When you are ready to make a purchase, find out if there is such a dealer in your area.
  • Some states waive the sales tax for adaptive devices if you have a doctor’s prescription for their use.
  • You may be eligible for savings when submitting your federal income tax return. Check with a qualified tax consultant to find out if the cost of your adaptive devices will help you qualify for a medical deduction.

Licensing Requirements

All states require a valid learner’s permit or driver’s license to receive an on–the–road evaluation. You cannot be denied the opportunity to apply for a permit or license because you have a disability. However, you may receive a restricted license, based on your use of adaptive devices.



Evaluate Your Needs

Driver rehabilitation specialists perform comprehensive evaluations to identify the adaptive equipment most suited to your needs. A complete evaluation includes vision screening and, in general, assesses:

  • Muscle strength, flexibility, and range of motion
  • Coordination and reaction time
  • Judgment and decision making abilities
  • Ability to drive with adaptive equipment

Upon completion of an evaluation, you should receive a report containing specific recommendations on driving requirements or restrictions, and a complete list of recommended vehicle modifications.

Finding a Qualified Evaluator

To find a qualified evaluator in your area, contact a local rehabilitation center or call the Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists (ADED). The phone number is in the resource section. The Association maintains a data base of certified driver rehabilitation specialists throughout the country. Your insurance company may pay for the evaluation. Find out if you need a physician’s prescription or other documen-tation to receive benefits.

Being Prepared for an Evaluation

Consult with your physician to make sure you are physically and psychologically prepared to drive. Being evaluated too soon after an injury or other trauma may indicate the need for adaptive equipment you will not need in the future. When going for an evaluation, bring any equipment you normally use, e.g., a walker or neck brace. Tell the evaluator if you are planning to modify your wheelchair or obtain a new one.

Evaluating Passengers with Disabilities

Evaluators also consult on compatibility and transportation safety issues for passengers with disabilities. They assess the type of seating needed and the person’s ability to exit and enter the vehicle. They provide advice on the purchase of modified vehicles and recommend appropriate wheelchair lifts or other equipment for a vehicle you own. If you have a child who requires a special type of safety seat, evaluators make sure the seat fits your child properly. They also make sure you can properly install the seat in your vehicle.



Select the Right Vehicle

Selecting a vehicle for modification requires collaboration among you, your evaluator, and a qualified vehicle modification dealer. Although the purchase or lease of a vehicle is your responsibility, making sure the vehicle can be properly modified is the responsibility of the vehicle modification dealer. Therefore, take the time to consult with a qualified dealer and your evaluator before making your final purchase. It will save you time and money. Be aware that you will need insurance while your vehicle is being modified, even though it is off the road.

The following questions can help with vehicle selection. They can also help determine if you can modify a vehicle you own.

  • Does the necessary adaptive equipment require a van, or will another passenger vehicle suffice?
  • Can the vehicle accommodate the equipment that needs to be installed?
  • Will there be enough space to accommodate your family or other passengers once the vehicle is modified?
  • Is there adequate parking space at home and at work for the vehicle and for loading/unloading a wheelchair?
  • Is there adequate parking space to maneuver if you use a walker?
  • What additional options are necessary for the safe operation of the vehicle?

If a third party is paying for the vehicle, adaptive devices, or modification costs, find out if there are any limitations or restrictions on what is covered. Always get a written statement on what a funding agency will pay before making your purchase.



Choose a Qualified Dealer to Modify Your Vehicle

Even a half inch change in the lowering of a van floor can affect a driver’s ability to use equipment or to have an unobstructed view of the road; so, take time to find a qualified dealer to modify your vehicle. Begin with a phone inquiry to find out about credentials, experience, and references. Ask questions about how they operate. Do they work with evaluators? Will they look at your vehicle before you purchase it? Do they require a prescription from a physician or other driver evaluation specialist? How long will it take before they can start work on your vehicle? Do they provide training on how to use the adaptive equipment?

If you are satisfied with the answers you receive, check references; then arrange to visit the dealer’s facility. Additional information to consider is listed below.

  • Are they members of the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) or another organization that has vehicle conversion standards?
  • What type of training has the staff received?
  • What type of warranty do they provide on their work?
  • Do they provide ongoing service and maintenance?
  • Do they stock replacement parts?

Once you are comfortable with the dealer’s qualifications, you will want to ask specific questions, such as:

  • How much will the modification cost?
  • Will they accept third party payment?
  • How long will it take to modify the vehicle?
  • Can the equipment be transferred to a new vehicle in the future?
  • Will they need to modify existing safety features to install the adaptive equipment?

While your vehicle is being modified, you will, most likely, need to be available for fittings. This avoids additional waiting time for adjustments once the equipment is fully installed. Without proper fittings you may have problems with the safe operation of the vehicle and have to go back for adjustments.

Some State Agencies specify the dealer you must use if you want reimbursement.



Obtain Training on the Use of New Equipment

Both new and experienced drivers need training on how to safely use new adaptive equipment. Your equipment dealer and evaluator should provide information and off-road instruction. You will also need to practice driving under the instruction of a qualified driving instructor until you both feel comfortable with your skills. Bring a family member or other significant person who drives to all your training sessions. It’s important to have someone else who can drive your vehicle in case of an emergency.

Some state vocational rehabilitation departments pay for driver training under specified circumstances. At a minimum, their staff can help you locate a qualified instructor. If your evaluator does not provide on-the-road instruction, ask him or her for a recommendation. You can also inquire at your local motor vehicle administration office.



Maintain Your Vehicle

Regular maintenance is important for keeping your vehicle and adaptive equipment safe and reliable. It may also be mandatory for compliance with the terms of your warranty. Some warranties specify a time period during which adaptive equipment must be inspected. These “check ups” for equipment may differ from those for your vehicle. Make sure you or your modifier submits all warranty cards for all equipment to ensure coverage and so manufacturers can contact you in case of a recall.

For additional copies of this brochure and other important vehicle safety information, you can contact DOT’s web site at www.nhtsa.dot.gov and the DOT Auto Safety Hotline: 888-DASH-2-DOT (888-327-4236).




The Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists (ADED)
2425 N. Center Street # 369, Hickory, NC 28601
(866) 672-9466

National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA)
11211 N. Nebraska Ave., Suite A5, Tampa, FL 33612
(800) 833-0427 

1000 AAA Drive, Heathrow, FL 32746-5063
(404) 444-7961

Department of Veteran Affairs
(800) 827-1000

State Departments of Vocational Rehabilitation
Listed in telephone book.

The following manufacturers offer rebates or reimbursements on new vehicle modification.

Daimler Chrysler Corporation
(800) 255-9877
(TDD Users: (800) 922-3826)

Ford Motor Company
(800) 952-2248
(TDD Users: (800) TDD-0312)

General Motors Corporation
(800) 323-9935
(TDD Users: (800) TDD-9935)

(800) 553-6000, Prompt 3
(TDD Users: (800) 833-6000)

(800) 822-8987

(800) 822-2834

wheelchair lifts: automatic and semiautomatic MA, RI, CT, VT, NH & ME

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Usage of wheelchair lift can facilitate everyday functioning, eliminating the need to lift the wheelchair and place it into the vehicle with just pulling up to the platform of the lift and be lifted up or down. It is extremely convenient, giving confidence to wheelchair users to go to the places they want to. Wheelchair lifts made a significant and positive change compared to the previous experiences when they didn’t exist.

Wheelchair lifts are advanced mobility systems that have changed the way the disabled move, work and live, being a blessing for users and caregivers equally. They are used for wheelchair accessible vans and other mobility vehicles, known also by the name platform lift, making the travel of wheelchair user much easier and more pleasant. Wheelchair lifts have multiple purposes and can help people with disabilities in many ways, even being adapted according to individual needs in as many ways you need.

Usage of wheelchair lift can facilitate everyday functioning, eliminating the need to lift the wheelchair and place it into the vehicle with just pulling up to the platform of the lift and be lifted up or down. It is extremely convenient, giving confidence to wheelchair users to go to the places they want to. Wheelchair lifts made a significant and positive change compared to the previous experiences when they didn’t exist.

They can be automatic and semi-automatic, electric and hydraulic. Automatic one takes care of the folding, unfolding, lowering and raising, while semi-automatic one needs manual operating. Electric wheelchair lifts are easier to maintain than hydraulic ones. They are flexible and easy to install and come with battery back-up. The full benefit of electric wheelchair lift can be felt together with stair and automobile lifts and van ramps. Hydraulic ones don’t need electricity and can function in the case of power failure. However, they require constant maintenance and care.

Wheelchair lifts that are usually used for vans and minivans are called rotary or “swing” lifts because their method of operation involves moving the wheelchair by swinging it up-and-down or inside and outside. There is a great choice of wheelchair lifts, so you should consider all the options, with the respect for your needs and wants, including the decision about whether you want to travel in the wheelchair or in the vehicle seat, which will also mean the difference between installing it inside or outside the van. Both options have advantages and disadvantages.

An outside wheelchair lift is intended for your personal mobile device to be installed outside of the car or wheelchair vans. It will be carried behind, but the way that the driver will have complete road visibility. If you choose an outside lift, it will require very small modifications of the vehicle. The lift is usually attached to a trailer hitch on the rear.

The type of the wheelchair lifts has to be compatible with your van. There are some special features that can make a difference in your everyday functioning, for example having a back-up lifting or lowering mechanism if the main drive system fails. When you sort out your needs, it’s easier to make a decision about the choice of the corresponding advanced mobility system.


In this section we explain the various types of lifts available on the market. There are advantages and disadvantages to all of these lifts. It is highly recommended that you get to know the lifts available, the product lines, your nearest dealers and their qualifications. If you purchase a lift only to find that there is no one within a reasonable distance to provide service and repairs you will soon regret that purchase. Always consult experts at VMi New England Mobility Center BEFORE you buy.

There are basically two types of wheelchair lifts:

  1. Platform Lift
  2. Rotary (or Swing) Lift

In addition, these two lifts come in various types. Hydraulic, electrical mechanical, gravity and those that combine hydraulic and electrical.

The hydraulic lift uses a pump and a cylinder filled with fluid pressure, which enables the pump to raise and lower the lift along with the power from the van’s battery.

The electricall mechanical lift operates either by chain or screw rod, with power provided solely by the battery.

The gravity lift has power to lift and fold, while gravity lowers the lift platform to ground level.

All of these lifts depend, at least in part, on the battery. If your battery is weak or dead, the lifts will not work.

If you are a scooter user, measure your scooter’s length. Some scooters are longer than the standard platform on lifts. An extended platform is available to accommodate these longer scooters. Be aware, though, that this could require a raised roof, too.

Platform Lift
This lift is stored either in the side, the rear, or under the floor of a van. The lift requires two doors or a sliding door on the side of a van. The platforms have expanded metal in the upper half of the platform for better visibility when the lift is folded and the van is being driven.

Lifts stored under the van require modifications to the exhaust system, gas tank, etc., depending on the make of the van. Only the pump and motor are located inside vans using under-the-floor lifts.

Platforms may also be different, depending on the lift. There are both solid and fold-in-half platforms.  The fold-in-half platform folds to give better accessibility to the doors. Some fold-in-half platform lifts are mounted on a single post.

Be aware of the differences between automatic and semi-automatic lifts. A fully automatic lift will fold, unfold, lower and raise by operating a switch located inside (on the side of the lift) or outside (on the side of the van), and, in most cases, on the dash. A semi-automatic lift requires manual folding and unfolding of the platform. Using a hand-held pendant switch, the platform can be mechanically lowered and raised. You MUST have assistance with this type of lift, as it is designed for passengers who will not be riding alone.

Rotary Lift (or “Swing Lift”)
The platform of this type of lift never folds. Instead it “swings” inside, outside and up-and-down. The rotary lift swings into the van and the lift platform sits on the floor in the middle of the van.

Some individuals like the rotary lift because of the parking convenience. Less room is needed to enter or exit the van. Also, this lift is mounted on one post inside the van. The post controls the swinging action of the lift. One of the drawbacks to the rotary lift, though, is the cross-over bar. On some rotary lifts this bar connects the platform to the swing bar, limiting space for loading and unloading on the platform.

Switches serve very necessary functions in this lift. In most cases there are three switches on the dash. They operate the lift as well as provide an open and close function for the power door openers. The motors fit into or beside the doors and are manufactured to fit only one brand of lift.

Back-up System
You may also want to purchase a back-up system for your lift. Many government agencies require a lift to have a back-up system for use in emergencies. With a back-up system the lift can be manually manuvered and users can exit the van with assistance from an outsider. Most back-up systems are herd to operate alone, so expect to need someone’s help.

Safety Flaps
All lifts have an extension or “curb” at the edge of the platform which is approximately three-to-four inches high. This safety flap is designed specifically to prevent the wheelchair or scooter from rolling past the edge of the platform.

Finally, when purchasing a lift, be sure to check on the use of raised doors. If needed, your lift will have to be ordered for the extended doors. Determine if this is necessary before completing your vehicle equipment decisions. It will help you avoid very costly errors.

Again, be sure to consult the experts at VMi New England Mobility Center BEFORE you buy a wheelchair van or wheelchair vehicle lift to prevent costly and frustrating mistakes.

spinal cord injury rehabilitation program new england

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Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Program

Early rehabilitation treatment is critical to help patients achieve their fullest potential following a spinal cord injury. At New England Rehabilitation Hospital patients learn how to adapt and return to a normal life. Patients learn how to avoid complications and increase independence. New England Rehabilitation Hospital is pleased to offer a primary care practice for individuals with spinal cord injuries. This program provides individuals with spinal cord injury a community based physician that has the expertise and commitment to care for their special needs on an ongoing and proactive basis.

The Spinal Cord Injury Team of experienced clinicians at New England Rehabilitation Hospital may include some or all of the following professionals dependent on the patient’s individual needs:

The Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Team Consists of:

New England Rehabilitation Hospital’s Spinal Cord Rehabilitation Program is designed to help individuals maximize their functional abilities so they can successfully return to the community. This goal is accomplished through development of an individualized treatment plan for each patient by the interdisciplinary staff. New England Rehabilitation Hospital advocates for involvement of the family in all aspects of care, and ensures patient/family education, support and participation in life care planning. New England Rehabilitation Hospital is fortunate to have the Greater Boston Chapter of the National Spinal Cord Injury Association at the hospital. The chapter is an invaluable asset in the rehabilitation and support of individuals with spinal cord injury.

  • Physiatrist (a physician who specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation) Board Certified in Spinal Cord Injury Medicine
  • Psychiatrist
  • Nurses specializing in 24-Hour Rehabilitation Nursing
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Physical Therapist
  • Speech Language Pathologist
  • Case Manager
  • Benefits specialist
  • Dietician
  • Other medical specialties to include;
    • Neurologist
    • Neuropsychologist
    • ENT
    • Oncologist
    • Pulmonologist
    • Infectious Disease Specialist
    • Wound Specialist

Program Components

The Spinal Cord Rehabilitation Program components include:

  • 24-Hour Rehabilitation nursing to address wound management, pain management, reinforce acquired functional skills, to assist with education of the patient and family.
  • Intensive and Individualized, goal-oriented treatment plans
  • Functional Approach to Activities of Daily Living and Community Re-entry
  • Availability of State-of-the-Art rehabilitation technology to include:
    • AutoAmbulator (partial weight support treadmill training)
    • Bioness H200 (Functional Electrical Stimulation)
    • Bioness L300 (Functional Electrical Stimulation)
    • Adaptive equipment for phone, computer and other aspects of communication.
  • Specialized insurance benefits coordination and management
  • Family conferences, education and support
  • Comprehensive case management discharge planning
  • Nutritional management
  • Daily Living Skills Training
  • Community Re-Entry Program
  • Splinting and Orthotics
  • Sexual Counseling
  • Educational Series
  • Driving Evaluation Program, as well as referrals to vendors for access and training to adaptive driving equipment.
  • Therapeutic Pool (Woburn only, 96 degrees)
  • Comprehensive Outpatient Services/Clinics including access to a physiatrist who specialize in the care of individuals with spinal cord injury.

Benefits Management and Coordination

An illness or injury may affect a person’s capacity for returning to work. If one of our patients is likely to be unable to return to work for a short or extended period, New England Rehabilitation Hospital offers the services of a Benefits Specialist to help the patient and family with practical matters of income replacement and health insurance concerns. The Benefits Specialist addresses such matters as: filing for Family and Medical Leave, Short Term Disability, Long Term Disability, Social Security Disability, MassHealth and COBRA assistance. The Benefits Specialist is also able to address social concerns of emergency aid for those persons who may not have worked prior to the injury or illness.

New England Rehabilitation Hospital recognizes the importance of assisting patients back to their homes, communities and places of work. The benefits service is dedicated to achieving those goals by helping patients and families navigate through disability benefits systems and by providing support to patients and families as they go through this often difficult and confusing process. Many patients have commented that they would not have known “where to begin” and that this service completes their overall rehabilitation.

New England Rehab Offers Elder Assist Clinic

New England Rehabilitation Hospital in conjunction with the Senior Resource Center (SRC) now offers complimentary, weekly Elder Assist Clinics in Woburn. These pre-registered private appointments with SRC’s Eldercare Nurse Attorneys help patients and their families with important issues, to include:

  • How to pay for current and long term health care needs
  • How to protect your home and your hard assets
  • Advice on estate planning

These clinics serve as a bridge in helping New England Rehabilitation Hospital patients and their families deal with transition needs for a safe and timely discharge home, to a skilled nursing facility, or an assisted living facility.

Senior Resource Center, Inc. is a full-service eldercare planning advisory group, supporting seniors and their families throughout Massachusetts, and southern New Hampshire.

New England Regional Spinal Cord Injury Center

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The New England Regional Spinal Cord Injury Center (NERSCIC) has developed a long and distinguished history of care, research, education, and service to people with spinal cord injury (SCI) in the New England region.  NERSCIC Network headquarters is located at the Boston University Medical Campus, with Network members Gaylord Hospital and Hospital for Special Care located in CT.

The NERSCIC Network serves as an advocate and resource for patients; their families, friends, and caregivers; and health care professionals throughout New England.  Our goal is to improve the health and function of people with SCI throughout the lifespan through innovative science and technology in three areas:

1. Consumer-focused Rehabilitation Researchwhich focuses on topics for people with SCI, such as health care self advocacy training, better ways to measure functioning, and which wheelchairs have the most breakdowns.  Learn more about how to participate in studies.

2. Comprehensive, State-of-the-Art Care

  • NERSCIC offers comprehensive inpatient and outpatient SCI care available through Gaylord Hospital and the Hospital for Special Care in CT.
  • NERSCIC is leading the development and dissemination of a uniform New England Standard of Care (NESoC) for SCI, a first-ever collaborative effort among area facilities with SCI expertise.  Its goal is to enhance learning opportunities for professionals and ensure that all people receive the same level of care throughout New England.

3.  Education and Collaboration

  • In 2012, NERSCIC unveiled a new Consumer Education Program called “Knowledge in Motion,”  in partnership with Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital and modeled after the Stepping Forward- Staying Informed program pioneered by NERSCIC.
  • The Rehabilitation Research Roundtable joins together leaders of the local SCI community to collaborate on a common research and corresponding service and advocacy agenda.

Declare Your Independence on the 4th of July with a Wheelchair-Accessible Vehicle

  • Wheelchair Van VMi New England Boston Strong
  • Learn more about how to pick the right wheelchair-accessible vehicle that meets your needs.
  • Take a look inside the latest minivans, and other accessible vehicles like a pickup truck, motorcycle or snowmobile.
  • Buy new? Buy used? Convert your current vehicle? Here, we provide some factors to consider before making your decision.

Freedom. That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? A wheelchair shouldn’t be a barrier to getting out and about, whether for work, day-to-day living or pleasure.

“we will always do all we can to deliver the driving freedom most take for granted to someone in a wheelchair, we are going to change the world one person on at a time” , -Jim Sanders 7/4/1988

Finding the right vehicle means analyzing your needs. Do you want to ride in your wheelchair or transfer to the vehicle’s seat? Will you be the driver or the passenger? If your muscle weakness is still progressing, how will your accessibility needs change down the line — and how can you accommodate them now?

What kind of vehicle do you want: car, minivan, van, truck, SUV or motorcycle? New or used? After-market conversion or built for accessibility from the start? Side or rear entry?

A great place to start answering questions is at the website for Vmi New England

The website is a treasure trove of tips for finding the right vehicle.

For an in-depth look into the life of Ralph Braun, founder and CEO of The Braun Corporation, read CEO with SMA Brings Mobility to All . Learn how he turned his scooter and modified van designs into a multimillion-dollar business — all while battling spinal muscular atrophy.



Braun Wheelchair Van Mobility Center vmienwenglan.com Boston Strong

Of course, in purchasing a vehicle, monetary concerns always come into play. The New England Mobility Center site offers various directions to take in finding government funding and public assistance. You’ll also find tips on buying auto insurance, numerous blogs on accessible-vehicle-related subjects and info on many travel accessories to make life easier on the road.

Because of the tremendous number of variables in the custom fitment for each persons specific needs, it’s not possible to give exact prices for the minivans featured. However, we can provide some figures that will give you a ballpark idea of accessible vehicle pricing.

  • New side-entry converted minivans range from around $48,000 to $75,000.
  • New rear-entry converted minivans with manually operated fold-out ramps start in the low $40,000s.
  • You can find 3-year-old minivans with brand-new conversions starting in the low $30,000s.

For those with severe muscle weakness who want to drive their vehicle themselves, certified driver rehabilitation specialists (CDRS) can evaluate your needs at the Bridgewater, MA Mobility Center, and provide a prescription for adapted driving equipment and driver training.  (For more on this topic, contact us at 508-697-6006).

As you’ll discover, the scope of accessible vehicles is very broad indeed. Here’s a sampler of the myriad options currently available in the world of wheelchair-accessible vehicles and conversion equipment.

MinivansBraunAbility’s Chrysler Entervan features flexible floor plans
For easier boarding, the Entervan has an integrated “kneeling” system; while the door is opening, the rear suspension is lowered, reducing the slope of the ramp. To learn more, call 508-697-6006 .Because wheelchair transportation requirements can change over time, BraunAbility enables buyers to easily configure the floor plan of its Chrysler Entervan. Whether you want to be the driver or the front-seat passenger, removing the appropriate seat is literally a snap: Unlock the seat base and roll the entire seat out of the van.
VMI’s Honda Odyssey Northstar promotes easy entry


Wheelchair Van bridgewater, ma newenglandwheelchairvan.com boston

In the side-entry, lowered-floor Honda Odyssey Northstar conversion by VMI, a remote control triggers the PowerKneel System, lowering the vehicle and activating a power ramp that telescopes out from within the interior floor.

The lower ramp offers a gentler angle, and the unrestricted entry means better maneuverability once inside.

VMI also offers the Summit accessible Toyota van conversion featuring a power fold-out, heavy-duty ramp system with an anti-rattle mechanism. It also has the power kneeling feature. To learn more, call 508-697-6006

.2013 Toyota Sienna VMI Summit Silver VMi New England Wheelchair Van Boston

Consider a rear entry, says Jim Sanders
Although rear-entry vehicles don’t allow wheelchair users to park in the driver or front-passenger locations, Jim’s vision has always been to offer as many options possible including optional swiveling driver or front-passenger seat that may facilitate transferring from the wheelchair. (For more on the rear- versus side-entry question, see them at, the Bridgewater, MA Mobility Center.) To learn more, call 508-697-6006 .Believing that entering and exiting the van through the back sometimes avoids  barriers, Our viewpoint and vision has always been to offer as many options as is practical. Rear-entry, lowered-floor modification converts Chrysler, Ford, GM, Honda and Toyota minivans. An automatic remote-control option can even activate the ramp and door. This vision and technology of lowering the vehicle closer to the ground and the ramp to a more comfortable angle for wheelchair access.


‘A mobility concept vehicle’ starts out as a accessible ground up conversion; that can even go green
A car or minivan hybrid concept vehicle can be designed custom for you from the ground up with safety and accessibility as its top priority.

mobility concept vehicle mobility center bridgewater, ma boston strong

Rental vehicles New locations are being added, before your next trip or give us a call to learn more at 508-697-6006. It’s may even be possible to rent a Rollx wheelchair-accessible Dodge or Chrysler minivan at selected airports around the country. Someone even told us Thrifty Car Rental, Dollar Rent-a-Car or Payless Car Rental companies were thinking about offer accessible vans at airports like T.F. Green airport 2000 Post Rd, Warwick, RI 02886, Manchester–Boston Regional Airport 1 Airport Rd, Manchester, NH 03103, Logan International Airport 1 Harborside Dr, Boston, MA 02128
Cars and SUV’s Sport an attitude with a flair for the freedom to have different concept vehicles built with optional Motors depending on your needs a Scion xB might even work.If you’re just not the minivan type, consider the freedom of a concept vehicle, Want a custom sporty wheelchair-accessible vehicle? Click the remote: Simultaneously, the driver’s door swings open, the rear driver-side door gull-wings up and the ramp unfolds, ready for you to maneuver your wheelchair into driving position.


A similar conversion can be configured on the passenger side. Or if rear entry suits your needs, we offer you the freedom to pick a model that work best for you. Prices range from the low $30,000s for a manual rear-entry model to the low $500,000s for a one off concept vehicle with automatic side-entry. To learn more, call 508-697-6006

Hand controls and footless driving solutions
Systems from mechanical to servo actuated can be installed on most cars with automatic transmissions. The accelerator input can mounted within easy reach of the vehicle’s standard steering wheel, with the controls just inches away on either the right or left. Smoothly accelerate the vehicle remotely without use of your feel, designed to make hands only driving safe and easy.Depending on the make and model of your vehicle, installed prices start around $1,200, additionally we offer transportation of the vehicle to and from our mobility center. To learn more, call 508-697-6006
Buying used AMS pre-owned van might even be considered.Resale on them is typically incredibly low and these can be a ok deal if your able to bring it to a qualified mobility center to ensure it is in safe and working condition.

AMS pre-owned van bridgewater, ma newenglandwheelchairvan.com

There’s no getting around the fact that wheelchair vans are expensive; retrofitting new vans with accessibility equipment doesn’t come cheap. One way to cut costs is to buy a used van to avoid the  depreciation that happens when buying new.VMi New England offers many pre-owned vans outfitted with their new conversion equipment which can save buyers as much as $15,000 to $20,000.

Or, if you already have a fairly new Chrysler, Dodge or Volkswagen van, they may be able to convert it for you. Rear-entry conversions start at around $13,000, while side-entry conversions start at around $22,000, not including the price of the vehicle. To learn more, call 508-697-6006.

There are many grey market conversion vans available to you via the internet, ebay and private parties.

Many of these vehicles are being sold by direct marketing companies or individuals who bought them via the internet or ebay only to find out there were many problems with the van, it was unsafe and or wouldn’t work for there needs.

So in turn they are for sale again for what appears to be a great deal.

I wish i had a dollar for every customer who brought a “internet deal”, “used car dealer van”, “ebay wheelchair van deal” into our facility wanting to know what we could do to make it work for them.

Only to hear, i’m very sorry you didn’t visit with us before you purchased this van that your family member or friend in the wheelchair will not fit into the van.


When it comes to motorcycles Jim Sanders has and will always promote accessible motorcycles and his personal belief that they offer the ultimate freedom when it comes to travel (unless it’s snowing in which case we need to talk about snowmobiles)

If you can operate a manual wheelchair, you may be able to drive a wheelchair-accessible motorcycle, says Sanders. Want a touring bike, a BMW, a KTM or how about a dirt bike. A remote-controlled drop-down ramp at the rear of the vehicle can be up fitted  allowing a rider to pull his or her chair into position, secure it with a push-button docking system, and ride off — no transferring necessary.


Bikes featuring a powerful BMW 1170 cc engine, a six-speed, two-button, thumb-operated gear shifter, and a rear-wheel-drive differential can be up fitted . Want a bike with a reverse gear for easier parking and maneuvering? To learn more, call 508-697-6006. If you can operate a manual wheelchair, you maybe able to drive a wheelchair-accessible motorcycle, says Sanders.

A remote-controlled drop-down ramp at the rear of the vehicle allows a rider to pull his or her chair into position, secure it with a push-button docking system, and ride off — no transferring necessary.

SUVs and trucks 

ryno wheelchair pick up truck bridgewater, ma boston, ma  newenglandwheelchairvan.com

A Stow-Away lift puts you inside

Bruno doesn’t sell wheelchair-accessible vehicles, but they do offer products that can be up fit  into vehicles.

Known for their home stair lifts and attachable vehicle lifts for transporting wheelchairs and scooters, they also make an add-on mechanism that may allow you to transfer you from a wheelchair up into the seat of a high-profile SUV or pickup.


Ryno no-transfer conversion for pickups 

Being a wheelchair user doesn’t mean you have to give up using a pickup truck. VMi New England has been offering pick up truck conversions for over 10 years allowing either driver-side or passenger-side entry into the cab of a GMC Sierra or Chevy Silverado without ever having to transfer out of the wheelchair.

When activated with the remote control, the door opens from the cab, then the lift platform deploys which rests flat on the ground. The wheelchair user backs onto the platform, which then elevates up and into the cab as the door slides back into the closed position.

To learn more, call 508-697-6006.


Logan International Airport
General Edward Lawrence Logan International Airport is located in the East Boston neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, US. It covers 2,384 acres, has six runways, and employs an estimated 16,000 people.Wikipedia
Code: BOS
Elevation: 19′ 0″ (5.80 m)
Address: 1 Harborside Dr, Boston, MA 02128
Phone: (800) 235-6426
Manchester–Boston Regional Airport
Manchester–Boston Regional Airport, commonly referred to simply as “Manchester Airport,” is a public airport located three miles south of the central business district of Manchester, New Hampshire on … Wikipedia
Code: MHT
Elevation: 266′ (81 m)
Address: 1 Airport Rd, Manchester, NH 03103
Phone: (603) 624-6539
T. F. Green Airport
T. F. Green Airport, also known as Theodore Francis Green Memorial State Airport, is a public airport located in Warwick, six miles south of Providence, in Kent County, Rhode Island, USA. Wikipedia
Code: PVD
Elevation: 55′ (17 m)
Address: 2000 Post Rd, Warwick, RI 02886
Phone: (888) 268-7222

Open all.  –  See all
conquest [ˈkɒnkwɛst ˈkɒŋ-]


1. the act or an instance of conquering or the state of having been conquered; victory
2. a person, thing, etc., that has been conquered or won
3. the act or art of gaining a person’s compliance, love, etc., by seduction or force of personality
4. a person, whose compliance, love, etc., has been won over by seduction or force of personality



Three Questions to Ask Your Mobility Consultant about Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles

Three Questions to Ask Your Mobility Consultant about Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles

When beginning your search for a wheelchair van in MA, RI, CT, VT, NH & ME, it is important to know which questions to ask your Mobility Consultant.  This could be the first time that you are going through this process, and VMi New England and Automotive Innovations wants you to have a memorable experience.

2012 Dodge Grand Caravan CR121019 Inside Front Right Veiw View

We encourage your questions to help make purchasing your wheelchair accessible vehicle enjoyable and educational. Here are five of our most frequently asked questions proposed to our Mobility Consultants.

 Do you have a service department for wheelchair van repairs?

Our technicians are highly trained and certified and are able to handle any problems you may have with your wheelchair accessible van.  By adhering to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS), becoming a Quality Assurance Program (QAP) facility, Automotive Innovations has shown its dedication to improving the quality of life for people with disabilities every day.

Can I test drive a wheelchair accessible vehicle before I purchase one?

Yes you can!  Our “Try Before You Buy” program means that you can test out our vehicles before you make your purchase, so that you can determine which vehicle will suit your needs.  Please contact us for more details.

How do you determine which wheelchair accessible vehicle will be right for me?

Our consultants take every step to get to know our customers to ensure that you purchase the right wheelchair accessible vehicle for you. Our Mobility Consultants go through a detailed step-by-step process to learn about your specific needs in order to get you the proper wheelchair van type, size and modifications to your wheelchair van.This mobility update has been brought to you by Vmi New England and Automotive Innovations your Bridgewater, MA New England NMEDA Mobility Dealer – Need some information on how to make your vehicle wheelchair accessible or upgraded with the latest and most convenient features?

Contact us your local mobility equipment and accessibility expert!

Jim Sanders is one of of the most experienced people in the country at building High-Tech driving equipment and vans for passengers and individuals who drive from a wheelchair. He offers a unmatched practical and theoretical foundation in the application of vehicle modifications for individuals with disabilities. With over 25 years experience, he continues to spearhead new and exciting technological advancements in this growing and emerging market.

Shoppers in Search of a Dodge Wheelchair Van Near Boston, MA Save on Models with Mobility Sales Event

Shoppers in Search of a Dodge Mobility Van Near Boston Save on Models with Sales Event

2012 Dodge Grand Caravan Front Seat wheelchair View 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan Rear Left Side Veiw 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan Rear Right Side View

Shoppers in search of a new Dodge Wheelchair Van near Boston will have the opportunity to save on 1999 – 2013 and 2014 models at VMi New England. The dealership is celebrating the out of this world sales event, giving shoppers the opportunity to save tons!

Shoppers seeking a Dodge near Boston can take advantage of savings that are out of this world! VMi New England is celebrating the Out of This World Sales Event right now. If you’re in the market for a new Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, or Ram, Ability vehicle check out the Mobility vehicles available at the sales event!

The Sales Event is going on now at VMi New England. If you’re in the market for a Dodge Mobility Van near Boston, take advantage of the incredible savings available right now!

Shoppers looking to take advantage of Out of This World savings should visit VMi New England today. Some of the most popular models are available at incredible prices, including mobility equipment for the Jeep Wrangler, Ram 1500, Dodge Charger, and Chrysler 300. If you are looking to upgrade, accessorize or buy, now is the time to save at VMi New England.

Shoppers at VMi New England Enjoy Savings That are Out of This World

Shoppers seeking a Dodge near Boston will receive Out of This World savings on mobility equipment like hand controls, left foot gas pedals and spinner knobs for the 2012 Jeep Liberty, 2013 Jeep Wrangler, Dodge Dart, Chrysler 200, Dodge Avenger, Jeep Patriot, Dodge Journey, Ram 1500, Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Charger, Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, Dodge Grand Caravan, Ram 2500, Dodge Durango, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Chrysler 300, Dodge Challenger, 2014 Jeep Compass, and Jeep Grand Cherokee.

With low monthly payments, shoppers at VMi New England will certainly get their money’s worth at the Sales Event! If you’re shopping for the long term, not a problem! We’ve got Out of This World savings for all of our shoppers. With savings up to $10,000 on left over and used wheelchair vans as well as special financing offers, you won’t want to pass this deal up.

Visit us today to save on the new Dodge Mobility Van you’ve been dreaming of. For more information about VMi New England online at newenglandwheelchairvan.com or call 508-697-6006 today!

email us at info@newenglandwheelchairvan.com

Dodge Families In MA Are Thrilled With The 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan

May 18th, 2013

VMi New England, a leading Dodge Mobility dealer in MA, is proud to announce that the 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan is the best-selling and most-awarded minivan!  Offering a spacious and comfortable interior, impressive entertainment features, and great safety, the 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan is perfect for Massachusetts families.

The 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan is available at five different trim levels, including the Grand Caravan AVP, the Grand Caravan SE, the Grand Caravan SXT, the Grand Caravan Crew, the Grand Caravan R/T.  All five 2013 Grand Caravan trim levels feature a 3.6L V6 VVT engine with the choice between a six-speed automatic transmission or an AutoStick automatic transmission.

The 2013 Grand Caravan receives an EPA estimated 25 mpg highway, and offers seating for up to seven passengers.  All of the trim levels except for the Grand Caravan R/T offer cloth low-back bucket seats.  The 2013 Grand Caravan R/T features leather-trimmed bucket seats.  The Grand Caravan R/T also offers power driver and front passenger seats and a two-way power adjustable driver lumbar support.  Thanks to foldable seating, the 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan offers up to 143.8 cubic feet of cargo capacity, perfect for fitting everything you’ll need on a family roadtrip!

The 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan also offers a number of entertainment features to keep the family occupied on long drives!  Available entertainment options include a 6.5-inch touch screen display, a 40 GB hard drive, audio jack input, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, and Uconnect featuring a CD player, DVD player, and MP3 capabilities.

Impressive Safety Features

The 2012 Grand Caravan was an IIHS Top Safety Pick, and there are many great safety features included in the 2013 Grand Caravan to give you peace of mind when driving around your most precious cargo.  The 2013 Grand Caravan comes standard with seven airbags, including front multistage airbags, a driver inflatable knee-bolster airbag, front seat-mounted side airbags, and side-curtain airbags in all rows.  It also features active front head restraints, Electronic Stability Control, Roll-Resistant tires, and other accident-avoidance measures.  The 2013 Grand Caravan also includes impressive security features, including keyless entry with immobilizer.

For more information about the 2013 Grand Caravan, visit the VMi New England website or call (508) 697-6006.  VMi New England offers a full line-up of new Dodge mobility wheelchair accessible models, as well as used vehicle options from a number of different automotive brands.

Posted in VMi New England

2012 Dodge Grand Caravan Trunk Open Seats Up View 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan  Steering Wheel and Dash View 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan  Steering Wheel and Dash  Side View 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan Inside Front Right Veiw View 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan Inside Front Left Veiw View 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan Inside Back Right Veiw View 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan Inside Back Left View View 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan Front Seat View

Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis can affect individuals in varying ways including tingling, numbness, slurred speech, blurred or double vision, muscle weakness, poor coordination, unusual fatigue, muscle cramps, bowel and bladder problems and paralysis. Due to these symptoms, special equipment or accommodations may need to be made to aid a person in safely maintaining their mobility independence for as long as possible.

Physical Considerations: The following are considerations for selecting a vehicle: 

Driving a sedan: The Individual must be able to do the following:

  • Open and close the Door
  • Transfer in and out of the vehicle
  • A wheelchair/scooter must be able to be stored and retrieved. Special equipment is available to aid with storage.

Driving a Van: Options may include a mini-van with a lowered floor and a ramp or a full size van with a lift. Specialized modifications allow a person to transfer to the driver’s seat or drive from a wheelchair. Technology may be able to compensate for the loss of strength or range of motion such as:

  • Reduced effort steering and/or brake systems to compensate for reduced strength.
  • Mechanical hand controls allow for operation of the gas and brake using upper extremities.
  • Servo brake/ accelerator systems compensate for reduced strength/range of motion of arms.
  • If spasticity is difficult to manage, it may lead to an inability to drive. 

Visual Changes: 

  • May be severe enough that driving is precluded or night driving is prohibited.
  • If double vision is intermittent and can be monitored independently, then driving may be limited to avoid driving during an exacerbation.
  • Sunglasses may help with glare sensitivity.
  • Compensate for loss of peripheral vision with special mirrors and head turning.
  • Learn order of traffic signals to aid with color vision impairment.

Cognitive Issues:

  • Need to regulate emotions and avoid driving when upset, angry or overly emotional.
  • May be limited to familiar routes if some loss of memory or problem solving but still enough judgment to drive.

Decreased Energy:

  • Energy conservation is vital.
  • May require assistance with wheelchair loading to save energy for driving.
  • Air conditioning aids with managing warm climates.


  • Seek the physician’s input regarding side effects which may impair driving.
  • Monitor when medications are taken. Don’t drive when sleepy or just before or after medicating

If you or those that drive with you notice any of the above warning signs and need a driving evaluation, give us a call at 508-697-6006 and we can, help you with with knowledge about medical conditions, and help with a comprehensive evaluation and determine your ability to drive.

  • Visual Perception
  • Functional Ability
  • Reaction Time
  • Behind-the-wheel evaluation

Spina Bifida

Spina Bifida is a congenital defect in which part of one or more vertebrae (the bone structure that surrounds the spinal column), fail, to develop completely, leaving part of the spinal cord exposed. It can occur anywhere on the spine but is most common in the lower back. The severity of the condition depends on how much nerve tissue is exposed. Frequently special adaptations on a vehicle are necessary for independent driving. The person with spina bifida may also have impairments in the ~areas of vision, perception (how the brain interprets what the eyes see) or learning. Adaptive driving equipment is frequently used for physical problems. A spinner knob and hand controls can be used if a person is unable to use either foot for gas or brake. Specialized modifications can also allow a person to transfer to the driver’s seat or drive from the wheelchair in a van or minivan. 

Common factors that can affect safe driving:

  • Limited range of motion and strength
  • Difficulty with coordinated movements
  • Visual impairments (poor acuity)
  • Trouble visually scanning or tracking quickly
  • Learning difficulties
  • Impaired judgment in complex situations
  • Slow processing and reaction time

A driver rehabilitation evaluation will examine the strengths and weaknesses of each individual as related to the driving task. The goal is independent, safe driving. No modifications or vehicle selection should be made until the person has completed a driver evaluation.

If you or those that drive with you notice any of the above warning signs and need a driving evaluation, give us a call at 508-697-6006 and we can, help you with with knowledge about medical conditions, and help with a comprehensive evaluation and determine your ability to drive. 

  • Visual Perception
  • Functional Ability
  • Reaction Time
  • Behind-the-wheel evaluation

Spinal Cord Injury

After a spinal cord injury has occurred, a person is no longer able to drive an automobile in the normal manner. However, there are several types of adaptive equipment and vehicle modifications that can allow an individual with a spinal cord injury to drive. Depending on the level of injury and functional ability, either a sedan or van may be an appropriate vehicle choice.
The following are considerations for selecting a vehicle:

Driving a sedan:  When considering the use of a sedan, the individual must be able to do the following:

  • Lock and Unlock the door
  • Open and close the door
  • Transfer to and from the wheelchair
  • Store and retrieve the wheelchair (either independently or with a wheelchair loading device)
  • Since characteristics and dimensions of vehicles vary, it is important that the individual performs these functions in the vehicle being considered prior to purchase. A driver rehabilitation specialist can provide recommendations for sedan selection.
Driving a van:  If an individual is unable to drive a sedan, there are several options available for driving a van. Specialized modifications can allow a person to transfer to the driver seat or to drive from the wheelchair.

There are several levels of driving control technology to compensate for the loss of strength and/or range of motion. Some of these include:

  • Reduced effort steering systems to compensate for reduced strength
  • Servo brake and accelerator control to compensate for reduced range of motion and strength.
  • Servo driving systems, allowing one hand operation of brake, accelerator and steering.
  • Adaptive equipment and vehicle modifications for wheelchair access are available for some full-size and mini vans; however, all vans are not suitable for modifications. We can assist in making the correct van choice and can provide a comprehensive evaluation to determine a persons ability to drive.
If you or those that drive with you notice any of the above warning signs and need a driving evaluation, give us a call at 508-697-6006 and we can, help you with with knowledge about medical conditions, and help with a comprehensive evaluation and determine your ability to drive.
  • Visual Perception
  • Functional Ability
  • Reaction Time
  • Behind-the-wheel evaluation