- Disabilities & the Disabled
Handicap Hand Controls for Cars and Disabled Drivers - Handicapped Info
Hand Controls for Cars
A brief look at disabled driving...
A lot of people don't even know that handicapped people are able to drive cars, with the right hand controls it's easily possible for the vast majority of disabled drivers out there to be able to drive not just safely - but actually safer than non disabled drivers.
It has actually been provide that drivers who are missing one limb are less likely to be involved in accidents!
This is a pretty shocking statistic and whether it's because they're more aware of their own mortality, don't want to be responsible for reckless accidents on any other reason it's a big eye opener for a lot of people.
You'll actually find that handicapped drivers tend to be far more careful, less likely to take risks and overall safer drivers.
Does this mean anyone with a disability is allowed to drive? No of course not.
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 means that a disabled person cannot be discriminated against purely because they're disabled. Clearly in the case of driver's missing one limb there's no reason for them not to drive seeing as they're statistically safer.
But on the other hand if you have seizures which cause black outs there there's a good chance you may not be allowed to drive, but only because your disability is directly preventing you.
- A set of hand controls for disabled drivers are aimed towards a wide range of disabled people, and I'll move onto that below.
Important Information Below...
Handicap Hand Controls for Cars
So what do I mean by disabled?
Well to drive a vehicle you clearly need use of your legs to operate the floor pedals. By disabled (with reference to handicap driving controls of course) I'm referring to people with full or partial loss of motor skills in their legs.
Whether you can only use one leg properly or no legs at all doesn't matter because there are different models for different situations.
There are more designs for people with complete loss of feeling in both of their legs than there are for just one, but this is because complete loss is far more common than partial loss.
You'll find that spinal cord injuries, usually breaks and fractures or degenerative diseases which wear down the body such as Multiple Sclerosis or Muscle Wasting are large causes of people who need to use hand controls.
Driving Controls for Cars
The three Different Types of Hand Controls
When it comes to hand controls for cars you'll find there are three main types you need to be aware of:
- Permanently fitted. These are installed by a mechanic or the disabled vehicle dealership and require modifications to the car's structure which cannot easily be reversed. This means that the car is driven only by the hand controls whether disabled or not and this is no method of removing them for non disable use.
- Semi-Permanent. This type of hand control contains two parts. There is the permanent alterations made to the vehicle - and these connected to the second part, the action points. The action points are usually the hand controls but the key difference is that the action points can be detached which allow for driving the vehicle without having to use the disabled equipment.
- Finally there are Portable Hand Controls For Disabled Drivers. These are completely and easily detachable and re attachable at any time. These do not need professional installation like the others and can be purchased online. Installation only takes someone who can read English and follow a manual as well as located the floor pedals.
So What Else do I Need to Know?
Well after the three types of hand control you need to understand which different 'designs' that there are.
You have basic hand controls which do not have mechanical linkage and rely purely on the driver's arm strength.
You have mechanically linked hand controls which are designed in such a manner that the force required is distributed evenly amongst the time required for that action to be completely, meaning that on average the highest amount of effort required will be lower.
Hydraulically designed models are quite hard to come by and not often sold, but they're for people who want to drive but don't have much strength at all. They're quite expensive and many have alarm features in case something goes wrong and they break.
Hand Controls for Disabled Drivers
The Different Hand Control Companies and Manufacturers
I would say that when it comes to this type of disabled driving aid the best thing to do if you're not American is to do a local search on Google. You can purchase hand controls from abroad, and in America for example, you'll find that Menox and Veigel are reasonable popular however they're European manufacturers.
I would recommend:
- Mobility Products and Design
- Monarch (otherwise known as MPS)
If you want the best permanent fittings then going for Menox or Veigel is a good idea. They provide the best controls with good secondary function features and powerful mechanically linked designs. However they are very expensive.
For standard but still decent hand controls then I'd recommend going to purchase your designs from either Monarch or Mobility Products and Design. They offer good products at reasonable products, they're not the best but they'll cater to the needs of most disabled drivers.
GuidoSimplex is incredible for more innovative products and designs. I would suggest that if you have the use of one limb it would be worth going to them because they cater to a far greater variety of people. Generally the other four companies I've listed above mainly produce their designs for people with complete loss of motor functions in both legs. This doesn't meant hey don't have brake or acceleration only hand controls - it just means that these are limited and not particularly well performing by comparison.
Hand Controls for Cars and Disabled Driving
Instructions for buying Disabled Driving Hand Controls
This is what you want to do if you don't know much about the process. This is designed primarily for U.S. citizens although there's no reason it can't be applied to the western world. Also please do remember that if you're living in a less developed country it may be harder for you to get old of different models - they may well need to be shipped from abroad.
- Figure out what kind of controls you want. Permanent, Portable or Semi-Permanent. Permanent are the best for people with complete disabilities. Portable are cheaper and better for people on lower budgets as they can be used in conjunction with cars being used by regular drivers. Semi-Permanent are the best of both worlds, but you will find that they're still quite expensive.
- If you want portable models then simply use Google to find the cheapest prices. Read reviews to make sure you're getting a good product, and use price comparison websites and shop around like you normally would. When it's delivered to your house get someone to install it. Driving is as easy as practicing like you normally would and applying for a driving license like normal. Remember there is no discriminations against disabled people for driving - as long as you are fit to drive. The same applies to insurance, the the insurance company has to have evidence that your disability actually increases the chance of injury.
- If you want permanent or semi-permanent (which I recommend by the way) then you need to go through a disabled driving car dealership. The best way is to Google *Disabled Driving Hand Controls (location)*. Start small such as your city, town, and expand outwards if you can't find any close to home. Use Google maps and listings to find somewhere close to you.
- Visit a number of the dealerships with what you have in mind. Try out their products, get different prices, check if these include installation costs and essentially do a price and product comparison across a number of different places.
- The hand controls will be fitted onto your vehicle, an from here you need to practice using them until you can take your DMV Driving license test. Remember that during the test you're allowing to obviously use the disability driving aids.
There you have it!
I really hope you've enjoyed reading about this Hub as much we I've enjoyed writing about it. I really hope that if you have any questions, or anything you'd like to add you can leave a comment below.
Also if you notice anything wrong then please let me know so I can fix it where appropriate!
Thanks a lot for reading this far too. You're a champion.