People with a physical disability encounter significant obstacles to driving that can severely limit their ability to get to and from their regular activities and realize their social roles outside the home.
The aim of the research project was to fill a knowledge gap related to electromechanical and electronic control devices requiring low physical effort in vehicles adapted for people with a physical disability. It was possible to evaluate the technical features of the devices, identify the lifestyles and functional limitations of road users with a severe motor disability who rely on the devices or other mechanical aids, assess the devices’ safety, efficiency and reliability, determine how they are attributed and used and describe the behaviours of users in real driving conditions. Based on the findings, we suggest that device suppliers release the results of the tests they claim to have conducted to confirm the equipment’s safety and reliability.
We also observed that the devices enable people with a physical disability to lead more independent lives and are deemed safe, efficient and reliable, that a framework for their attribution and training on the devices are required and that users adopt cautious driving styles under real conditions.
The findings of this research project could bring decision-makers at the SAAQ to modify the agency’s regulatory framework to foster the independence of people with a physical disability while continuing to ensure road safety in Québec.
François Routhier, Université Laval
Original title: Dispositifs électromécaniques pour commandes à effort minimal dans les véhicules adaptés pour les personnes ayant des incapacités physiques : état de la situation des besoins, des produits et des pratiques au Québec