Wright-Way, Inc. Consumer Education Series
Van Wheelchair EZ Lock Tie-Down System
Anytime you place an occupied wheelchair into a van then you need to realize that for the safety of the occupant, both the wheelchair and the person sitting in it needs to be properly secured. Just as seat belts in passenger cars are important to reduce injuries while driving on our busy roads and highways, even more so is the importance of protecting passengers who are in wheelchairs.
There are basically two types of wheelchair restraint systems in use today. The first is the manual non-retractable or retractable type of tie-down. These consist of four straps that are secured to the floor of the vehicle with quick release latches. The four straps are attached to the four corners of the wheelchair. The attachment of these can only be done by an attendant as it is not possible for the wheelchair occupant to attach and secure these types of straps to their wheelchair.
The second type of wheelchair restraint system is an electric lock that consists of a special box that mounts to the floor of the van and a bracket that mounts to the bottom of the wheelchair. The way this system works is that when the wheelchair rolls over top of the box, a pin engages and holds the wheelchair securely. To release the chair, a button or lever is pushed to disengage. When compared to the effort it takes to attach and release four straps each time, it is not surprising that this has become such a popular mobility product. This system will work with approximately 95% of all manual and power wheelchairs. You need to ask about your particular make & model of wheelchair to make sure it will work for you.
Lastly, whatever restraint system is used to secure the wheelchair is only half the job. It has been proven that even when secured properly, in a crash situation, the wheelchair can literally disintegrate around the person sitting in the chair. For this reason you also need to always use a shoulder/lap belt to secure the wheelchair occupant to the vehicle.