Wheelchair Restraint Systems, Dynamic Test Results and the Development of Standards 821161
Applications of modern technology make it possible for handicapped people confined to wheelchairs to travel in vehicles in both driver and passenger modes. This is consistent with the trend of increased independence and mobility for the handicapped confined to wheelchairs.
Concurrent with this trend is the development of wheelchair restraint devices/systems to restrain the wheelchair and provide the wheelchair occupant some measure of protection in normal and abnormal (crash) driving situations. The proliferations of these devices, some of which afford minimal restraint to the wheelchair occupant, led representatives of the Texas Transportation Institute and the Mechanical Engineering Division of the Texas Engineering Experiment Station (TEES), with the funded support of the Veterans Administration (VA), to conduct a program to test and evaluate representative restraint devices currently being marketed. This paper describes the progress that has been made in this program to-date. Included are the descriptions of the test facility, photographs of some of the actual impact tests and the description of a new restraint system that is under development.