Historically, wheelchairs have been transported as seats in vehicles for many years, however the publication of the ISO 7176-19 plus ISO 10542 standards and in particular the British Wheelchair Standards EN 12181:2009 and EN12184:2009 which came into force in 2010, has provided a benchmark standard to offer improved safety and protection for wheelchair users, vehicle drivers and other occupants in vehicles.
We need these standards in place to ensure we are providing safe transportation for people with disabilities, who are unable to transfer from their wheelchair when travelling in motor vehicles, and also for the safety of other vehicle occupants.
Safe transport is a key element in a wheelchair occupant’s ability to improve quality of life through participation in education, work, and leisure as well as to access medical facilities.
ISO 7176-19 is the wheelchair crash test standard which has been derived from a crash test already in use in the motor industry where wheelchairs containing a test dummy are crash tested at a speed of 48kph and at an impact deceleration of 20g. The test dummy is limited to a max weight of 75kg and only frontal impact has so far been simulated.
NB. Crash testing applies to wheelchairs restrained by straps and wheelchairs with docking systems. The BSEN 12181:2009 and BSEN 12184:2009 as previously stated came into force in March 2010.
Both of these standards specify that if a wheelchair manufacturer permits the transportation of their wheelchair in a vehicle, the wheelchair must have passed a crash test in accordance with the ISO 7176-19 standard.
ISO 7176:2008 applies to all manual and powered wheelchairs including scooters which in addition to their primary function as wheeled mobility devices are also likely to be used as forward facing seats in motor vehicles by children and adults with a body mass equal to or greater than 22kgs.
The standard specifies wheelchair design requirements, performance requirements and associated test methods and requirements for wheelchair labelling, pre-sale literature, user instructions and user warnings. It applies to complete wheelchairs including a base frame and seating system as well as to wheelchairs equipped with add-on, adaptive components designed to facilitate compliance with one or more of the requirements.