NMEDA Members Team Up To Provide Mobility Solutions: National Mobility Awareness Month Contest To Award Four Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles

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NMEDA will award four “Local Heroes” a wheelchair accessible vehicle tailored to their needs. The vehicles are provided by Chrysler, who will partner with ElDorado Mobility to deliver a customized Dodge Caravan, Toyota Mobility, who will partner with BraunAbility to deliver an all-new Toyota Sienna, Valley Honda Dealers, who will partner with Vantage Mobility International (VMI) to deliver an all-new Honda Odyssey and Chairiot Mobility who will deliver a revolutionary designed single-occupant vehicle.

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More than 18 million people in the United States and Canada have mobility issues; six million are veterans. People with disabilities constitute the largest minority group in the U.S.

Earlier this month, National Mobility Equipment Dealer Association (NMEDA) kicked off its National Mobility Awareness Month campaign. Designed to encourage seniors, veterans, caregivers and people with disabilities to enjoy active, mobile lifestyles, the campaign includes the online Local Heroes Contest.

NMEDA will award four “Local Heroes” a wheelchair accessible vehicle tailored to their needs. More than 18 million people in the United States and Canada have mobility issues; six million are veterans. People with disabilities constitute the largest minority group in the U.S. The vehicles are provided by Chrysler, who will partner with ElDorado Mobility to deliver a customized Dodge Caravan, Toyota Mobility, who will partner with BraunAbility to deliver an all-new Toyota Sienna, Valley Honda Dealers, who will partner with Vantage Mobility International (VMI) to deliver an all-new Honda Odyssey and Chairiot Mobility who will deliver a revolutionary designed single-occupant vehicle.

There are several different types of conversions and mobility solutions based on design and user needs. They are:

  • Side-entry Ramp - This is best suited for those who want extra room for maneuverability. While deployment of a side-entry ramp requires extra space when parking, users enjoy additional cargo storage space.
  • Rear-entry Ramp - Rear-entry ramps are typically less expensive and do not require additional space for ramp deployment. This means entering and exiting the vehicle is easy, even in narrow parking spots.
  • Fold-out Ramp - This type of ramp folds out when deployed and rests along the closed sliding door when not in use. While the ramp takes up minimal space in the interior, its accessibility allows wheelchair users to push a foldout ramp in cases of emergency.
  • In-floor Ramp - This ramp is completely concealed under the vehicle. It allows passengers who are not in wheelchairs to enter and exit without having to deploy the ramp.
  • Manual Ramp - Manual ramps require physical labor but are a cost-effective option for both side and rear-entry models.
  • Power Ramp - An automated ramp system simplifies ramp access by efficiently opening the door and lowering the ramp with the click of a button.

Chairiot will be providing a Chairiot solo, a low-speed all-electric rear entry vehicle perfect for individuals looking to lead an active lifestyle. This compact vehicle accessed through a rear entry that leads directly into the driver position. With space limited to one person, the vehicle is ideal for transportation within neighborhoods and small towns.

There are a number of types of hand controls available for drivers with disabilities; each providing unique benefits fit to match each driver’s specific needs.

Push/pull controls require a moderate amount of arm strength and is ideal for those with a need for simplified driving methods. Amongst the most popular options for drivers with low upper body strength is Push/right angle controls. With this system, drivers must push the control forward to brake, and down towards the seat while pulling slightly towards the torso to accelerate. Push/twist hand controls work very similarly to those of a motorcycle, allowing drivers to accelerate with a twist of the handle and brake by pushing on the hand control lever. Push/rock controls are another viable option, operating similar to a slot machine. Push/rock controls require drivers to move their hands on the top of the handle—rocking backwards to accelerate and forwards to brake.

Accelerator rings allow drivers to control acceleration right from their steering wheel. To operate, drivers simply need to smoothly push the ring towards the steering wheel to accelerate and move the main hand brake downward to brake.

There are also high-tech systems available for assistance with secondary hand controls, including the control of the windows, horn, wipers, locks, turn signals and air conditioning. These secondary command systems are even available with touch screens and voice activated technology.

For more information visit mobilityawarenessmonth.com

About National Mobility Awareness Month: May is National Mobility Awareness Month and is the annual celebration that encourages seniors, veterans, caregivers and people with disabilities to enjoy active, mobile lifestyles. Founded in 1989 as a not-for-profit trade association, the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) supports the awareness month with the assistance of approximately 600 mobility equipment dealers, manufacturers and driver rehabilitation specialists located in the United States and Canada dedicated to expanding opportunities for people with disabilities. For updates, please visit MobilityAwarenessMonth.com, as well as Facebook, Twitter @NMEDA.

About the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association:
Founded in 1989 as a non-profit trade association, the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) supports more than 600 mobility equipment dealers, manufacturers and driver rehabilitation specialists in the U.S. and Canada dedicated to expanding opportunities for people with disabilities. NMEDA is the sponsor of National Mobility Awareness Month each May and the Local Heroes Contest that celebrates life moving forward. For information on NMEDA, please visit http://www.nmeda.com, as well as Facebook and Twitter. Visit MobilityAwarenessMonth.com for the national awareness month.

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Donna Tinoco, APR
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