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Med Eng Phys. 2010 Apr;32(3):263-71. doi: 10.1016/j.medengphy.2009.08.012. Epub 2009 Sep 25.

WC19: a wheelchair transportation safety standard--experience to date and future directions.

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University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, 2901 Baxter Road, Ann Arbor, MI, 48109-2150, USA.


ANSI/RESNA WC19 (i.e., WC19) is a voluntary standard that specifies design and performance requirements for wheelchairs that are suitable for use as seats in motor vehicles. The guiding principles for the standard originate from automotive crash-protection principles that are effective in reducing occupant injuries and fatalities. In addition to frontal-impact testing of wheelchairs, the standard includes tests for securement-point accessibility, tiedown-strap clear paths, lateral stability, and accommodation of vehicle-anchored belt restraints. Results from testing wheelchairs to WC19 reveal that the most common wheelchair problems include: a lack of structural integrity during frontal-impact loading; sharp rigid edges; and wheelchair structures that interfere with achieving proper positioning of vehicle-anchored belt restraints. Data from 8 years of experience with WC19 indicate where changes are needed to further improve transportation safety for wheelchair-seated travelers. These include expanding WC19 to include wheelchairs for smaller children who require a five-point harness restraint, and requiring wheelchairs to achieve a minimal rating for the ease of achieving proper positioning of vehicle-anchored belt restraints.

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