Tag Archives: seatbelt

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.

Buckle Up!

No matter how the wheelchair is secured to the vehicle, a properly used and positioned crashworthy seatbelt, consisting of pelvic and upper-torso belts, is absolutely essential. Seatbelts are by far the most effective occupant restraint system for protecting occupants in crashes and reduce the risk of total injuries by more that 50%. They prevent occupants’ ejection from and minimize injurious contact within the vehicle.

To be most effective, the lap belt must be placed low on the pelvis near the top of the thighs, and the shoulder belt should cross the middle of one shoulder and the breastbone and connect to the lap belt near the occupant’s hip.

While wheelchair securement and occupant restraints are important, a growing body of evidence suggests a large proportion of serious injuries to wheelchair-seated travelers is due to a lack of proper seat belt use and/or improper positioning of the seatbelt. In many cases, wheelchair features such as armrests and wheels can interfere with proper seatbelt routing and placement, and care must be taken to ensure that seatbelts are properly used and positioned. This may require placing the lap belt between the back of the armrest and the seatback post, or threading the lap belt’s end through openings below the armrest before attaching the belt to the vehicle’s anchor points. It is also important to place the seatbelt buckle in direct contact with the occupant and not where it may contact rigid wheelchair components during a crash. Never route seat belts outside the large wheels or over armrests.

Even if you are only driving a short distance under ideal conditions, fasten your seat belt.
You should never drive until everyone has a seat belt properly fastened.