Safety and mobility of people with disabilities driving adapted cars

Publisher's full text

A study was carried out to increase knowledge about the safety of drivers with disabilities. A questionnaire that focused on the driver's disability, the adaptive equipment, the use of the car, safety, and accident involvement was sent to a random sample of persons with disabilities driving adapted cars. Spinal cord injuries was the most frequent diagnosis (30% of 793 answers) and lower limb disabilities was the most common functional restriction (over 75%). The drivers felt very safe and they had a high level of confidence in the adapted car. They used the car for almost the entire distance travelled (90%), which illustrates how dependent this group is on the car for their mobility. About 1 out of 10 drivers had been involved in an accident during the last 3.5 years, most of them with only material damage. The accident and injury risks of the target group did not differ significantly from the risks of drivers in general. A small number of accidents were attributed to problems with the special equipment in the car. The causes could be unfamiliarity with the controls, an adaptation that did not fully meet the needs of the individual or equipment that broke down. © 2004 Taylor & Francis.

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