When you’re first out looking for an adapted vehicle you might not consider safety as an issue. Maybe you’re thinking: “It’s built into a car, it has to be safe!”. Unfortunately, that is not at all the case.
Adapting a vehicle for someone with a disability will in many countries cause the vehicle to fall a different category in terms of safety requirement. In some countries, it is approved by the road authorities as an exception from rules and regulations.
This is both good and bad. It’s good because in most countries the rules and regulations do not include various adaptations which in reality makes them illegal. It’s bad because it also puts all the responsibility on you. You must seek out an adaptation workshop you can trust and in turn, they must ensure that the parts used have been tested and approved according to what is applicable.
Vehicle adaptation is highly responsible work and the fact is that most people choose to work in this industry because they believe in equal rights and opportunities.
However, as with everything, there can be the odd bad apple. Always take the time to investigate your supplier. Are they recommended by local authorities, do they have a good reputation, do they have the proper training to conduct the work, are they members of industry organisations? Finding a company that ticks all these boxes can be difficult depending on where you are located. Sometimes a good reputation is all you need to feel that you are in good hands.
When it comes to adaptation products there are two categories. Custom built and mass-produced. The custom-built products are things made by your adaptation technician. These can be inspected by a Road Authority agent but sometimes they are not.
The mass-produced products are a whole different thing. In some areas for example belts and wheelchair tie-downs. There are rules and regulations that must be followed but for other products, it is entirely up to the manufacturer to ensure that what they produce is safe.
Standards and guidelines in relation to the manufacturing company
ISO 9001 certificationA company that is ISO 9001 certified has chosen to work with a set of guiding principles. These principles specify the requirements for an organisations quality management system in two major focus areas: Customer satisfaction and regulatory requirements. The latest version of this standard is ISO 9001:2015
In short, an ISO 9001 certification isn’t proof of quality in itself, but it does show that a company takes quality seriously and follows what is regarded as best practice.
Standards and guidelines in relation to products
Some manufacturers choose to test their products. One reason for these tests is to ensure that the products can bear some of the markings mentioned above. Other reasons include quality assurance, safety goals and customer satisfaction. A manufacturer that is serious about safety and quality is guaranteed to do some form of testing.
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Getting an adapted car is a big investment. This guide will help you better understand the process as well as give you an idea of where to start.
We've selected 5 cars that all have different features that make them best in class for certain adaptations or uses.
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