It can go so terribly wrong - when using a wheelchair as a vehicle seat

We have selected some examples from our work with crash-testing and development of tie-down equipment and wheelchairs. The example gives a realistic picture of what can happen during a collision of 48-50 km/H.

These examples illustrate some of the many factors that can influence safety, may it be a positive or negative.

Test Videos underline the necessity of testing wheelchairs, wheelchair tie-down equipment and occupant restraints in conjunction with each other, in order to give a full picture of the safety.

What can be done to improve safety and avoiding the shown examples?

Demand that certain criterias be met for wheelchair and vehicle conversion

The issues involved can seem overwhelming, but it would contribute significantly to improving safety if all parties involved in the area take responsibility and work together. We know that from experience.
We all have the responsibility that wheelchairs and occupants will be securely tie-down in a vehicle. Demand the following documentation:

  • That the wheelchair is CE-marked
  • That the securement points for tie-down straps be marked on the wheelchair
  • That a proper user instruction be supplied for wheelchair and tie-down equipment
  • That tie-down equipment has been tested and approved to relative standards
  • That the wheelchair has passed testing to ISO7176-19 or 10542-5

Prefer wheelchair manufactorers that can provide documentation over those who cant.

All players have an important role to play

With a higher degree of cooperation, between wheelchair manufacturers, vehicle conversion companies and manufacturer of tie-down equipment, there will be a significantly positive effect on wheelchair safety.

Ideally wheelchair- and of tie-down equipment manufacturers should cooperate to crash test. This would insure that both the wheelchair and tie-down system can withstand the impact loads together.

When it comes to powered wheelchairs it is particularly important, that the tie-down system is capable of withstanding the loads of the wheelchair.

Tie-down equipment that has been tested to ISO 10542 part 2 and 3, unfortunately only have to withstand the loads of a wheelchair with a weight of 85 kg plus a test dummy. In order to insure that the tie-down system can withstand the loads of an actual wheelchair it must be tested to meet ISO 10542 part 5 (system for specific wheelchairs).

Since Dahl Engineering cooperates with a number of wheelchair manufacturers we are able to supply documentation that our tiedown equipment works with specific wheelchairs.  Please see list under testing videos.


Why we test - see videos with unsatisfactory results