Organisers Disabled Motoring UK need 100,000 signatures over the next three months to have a chance for the issue to be discussed in the House of Commons and legislation to be changed to make the sled testing of wheelchair accessible vehicles compulsory. To sign the petition go to http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/34003 People can also show their support by liking the campaign Facebook page (search Sled Test Campaign) and following the campaign on Twitter by searching for @WAVSafety
As well as the e-petition, a campaign website has been launched www.sledtesting.co.uk which explains why sled testing is so important and helps people who are purchasing wheelchair accessible vehicles ask the right questions.
Helen Dolphin, Director of Policy and Campaigns for Disabled Motoring UK, said: “It is amazing that vehicles are being sold that may not be safe for the drivers and their disabled passengers and we feel strongly that this must stop. We will be calling on the Government to change legislation so that people don’t unknowingly purchase unsafe vehicles. Alongside this we will be educating people to make sure they ask the right questions before purchasing a converted car.”
Managing Director of Constables Mobility David Constable, an expert in vehicle conversion, added: “Wheelchair users have a right to a vehicle that has been properly tested so they are as safe as possible in the event of an accident.” I strongly believe that all companies who convert cars should only be allowed to sell them if they have been successfully sled tested after conversion.”
A sled test is similar to the crash testing seen on TV - a dummy is strapped into a wheelchair within the car, which is then put through head-on collisions to check that both the belts and their fixings are strong enough to withstand a real-life accident and keep the wheelchair user secure.
The reason testing is so vital after conversion to a wheelchair accessible vehicle is because converting a car is a complex process involving significant structural changes to the vehicle such as lowering the floor. If this is not done properly, and by experts, the car may be unsafe.
DMUK is the only UK charity that campaigns on behalf of disabled people in this way. Without DMUK and its parent charities the Disabled Drivers’ Association and the Disabled Drivers’ Motor Club, there would be no Blue Badge scheme, no Motability cars, and no mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to help disabled people defray some of the extra travel and transport costs that they incur.
Notes to editors:
What is sled testing?
The sled test is similar to the crash testing that many of us have seen on TV a dummy is strapped into a wheelchair in the body of the car, which is then put through head-on collisions to check that both the belts and their fixings are strong enough to withstand a real-life accident and keep the wheelchair passenger secure.
Sled testing is the only means of proving that the cell (i.e. the conversion anchorage points together with the belts and tie-downs) is safe.
For more information or interview requests contact Helen Dolphin Director of Policy and Campaigns Disabled Motoring UK 01508 489449 or e-mail Suzi Christie at Blueberry PR email@example.com