TAMPA, Fla., January 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Recent unfounded statements surrounding the safety of wheelchair accessible vehicle conversions has caused industry organizations to rally in an effort to set the record straight. The National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) and several of its manufacturing members announced today their position on the recent allegations.
“The claims against converted vehicles are completely ill-informed and unsubstantiated,” said NMEDA Executive Director/CEO Dave Hubbard. “Our members adhere to strict guidelines designed to enhance and promote dependable mobility products. It appears that the new-entry to the industry is taking liberties when it comes to deciphering fact from fiction.”
Contrary to recent claims, OEM vehicles have been proven to maintain their structural integrity throughout the conversion process. All structural modifications to the vehicles are proven safe through extensive durability and impact testing and are required to pass the same crash testing as the original equipment manufacturer.
“We are not a start-up company, and this is not a start-up industry,” said Nick Gutwein, President of The Braun Corporation. “Our products set the standard for reliability and safety in accessible vehicles, and our proof comes from hundreds of independently verified test results, thousands of satisfied customers and four decades of industry experience.”
In regard to safety, all new modified accessible vehicles manufactured and sold in the U.S. and Canada are required to comply with Federal and Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. They must pass extensive front, rear, and side crash tests to ensure that the Original Equipment Manufacturer safety certifications remain intact after any modifications are made.
“It’s important that all members of the mobility industry, particularly customers, make certain all information provided to them is factual,” said Sheldon Walle, President, ElDorado National Kansas, Inc. “For over three decades we have assured customer safety and quality, and to suggest otherwise not only impugns our company but our industry as well.”
“Our safety record proves that we build vehicles that are dependable and well-engineered,” said Doug Eaton, CEO of Vantage Mobility International. “We’re confident that our vehicles feature superior handling, ergonomics and design including innovative ramps that are designed after painstaking research and careful study.”
Wheelchair van conversions also offer options, including the ability to drive the vehicle or ride as a passenger, the choice of a side-entry or rear-entry ramp and the ability to choose a vehicle with dimensions that best fit the individual customer’s needs.
“My wheelchair van has never let me down,” said Steven Ray, of Dallas, who recently purchased his second retrofitted vehicle. “I’ve driven that van for over 300,000 miles and it’s taken me everywhere I wanted to go in the last ten years.”
Dave Hubbard – NMEDA
Scott Black – Time Piece PR & Marketing (VMI)
Nicole Fischer – Padilla Speer Beardsley (Braun)