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Safe vehicle travel guide for wheelchair users

February 10, 2014

The driving and adaptive transportation program at Craig Hospital is run by designated occupational therapists who are specialists in the field. Safe vehicle travel is an important consideration for our patients and their families. Please review and download a copy of these general guidelines for safe travel for wheelchair users.

Transfer to standard vehicle seat:

It is always recommended that you transfer from your wheelchair to a standard vehicle seat and use the built-in seatbelt for travel in a personal vehicle.

If this type of transfer is not possible, follow these instructions for safe transport in your wheelchair.

Use a WC 19 specified chair:

Use a WC 19 specified chair: this means that the chair has met special requirements for use as a seat in a vehicle and has been crash tested.


Attach tie-down straps to wheelchair:

If a WC 19 chair is not available: attach the tie-down straps to non-movable and non-removable parts of the chair (such as frame junctions).

Guidelines for safe transport:

  • Always face the wheelchair rider forward in the vehicle and use the vehicle shoulder and lap seatbelt system
    • Wheelchair-mounted postural support belts are not crash tested and are only meant to help maintain seat position and posture
    • The wheelchair should be secured using an approved 4-point tie-down system or an installed power lockdown docking system

tiedowns04Tips on Tie-downs:

  • All tie-down straps should be tight with no slack
  • Rear straps should be anchored directly behind the tie-down points of the wheelchair


Other considerations: seatbelt, posture

  • The lap portion of the seatbelt should be placed low across your waist (not around or over armrests)

Tip: The belt may need to be placed between the wheelchair back and the armrest to achieve proper placement

  • The shoulder belt should be placed over the middle of the shoulder and center of the chest in contact with the body
  • You should sit as close to upright as possible

Power lockdown docking system:

  • This system requires a wheelchair specific bracket to be installed onto the wheelchair and the docking system to be mounted onto the floor of the vehicle
  • A mobility dealer is needed to install this type of system

Find a mobility dealer in your area:

For more information and definitions visit: or

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