A wheelchair lift for your accessible vehicle can run the gamut from mandatory safety features to options like whisper-quiet operation and remote controls, depending on what you need and what you can afford.

Some things are standard while others are optional.

For example, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration requires wheelchair-accessible vans with wheelchair lifts to be equipped with a safety lift interlock. Designed to prevent operation of the wheelchair van or wheelchair lift in unsafe situations, the safety interlock sounds an alarm if an unsafe condition exists (e.g., the vehicle attempts to move while the lift is deployed) or prevent the vehicle from shifting into drive while the lift is in operation.

Other federal mandates include such safety features as:

    • Retaining barriers on the platform edge
    • Threshold warning signal: If the threshold warning plate is occupied when the lift platform is below vehicle floor level, lift operation will be prevented, and visual/audible warnings alert passengers and attendants to unsafe conditions
    • Handrails for security

  • Interlocks to prevent accidental movement of the lift

Other features to look for:

  • An automatic or electric roll stop assures the wheelchair stays in place during operation
  • A threshold sensor mat inside the van to warn the user against exiting if the lift is not level with the floor of the van
  • A slip-resistant platform
  • Integrated manual backup system. In case of a power failure, a manual backup pump is within your reach and allows the platform to be raised and lowered manually
  • A bridging mechanism that allows you to safely board the lift from sidewalks or inclines
  • To control lift operations, choose between the standard hand-held control, the on-lift control or an optional remote control

Consult with an expert in mobility equipment and accessibility to find the ideal lift for your unique needs.

This mobility safety update has been brought to you by NMEDA – the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association. Need some information on how to make your vehicle wheelchair accessible or upgraded with the latest and most convenient features? Contact a NMEDA dealer in your local area. Your local NMEDA member is an expert in mobility equipment and accessibility!

3 responses to “What to Look For in a Wheelchair Lift

  1. Vehical equip with backup camera but it is blocked by the Hammar wheelchair lift. (The sensors respond to the location of the lift). Need the sesors to. Respond to End of lift not end of vehicle. A problem for many. Do you have a solution?

  2. I like your tip to look for a wheelchair lift that has a manual pump in case a blackout occurs. My brother was recently in an accident and has to use a wheelchair for the rest of his life. So his family is looking for things like lifts to help him around the house. I’ll be sure to let them know that they should be sure to find a wheelchair lift that has manual pump he can use to raise it and lower it, in case of a blackout.

  3. Great post! These are some helpful tips for making your home more accessible for those with disabilities. I agree that a wheelchair lift is a great idea. Thanks for sharing.