Wheelchairs that comply with the ISO guideline 7176-19 and are therefore ‘crash tested’, can almost always be transported safely. But not all wheelchairs can undergo this test. From next year, drivers will therefore have to consider whether a wheelchair can be secured and transported safely, regardless of whether or not the wheelchair complies with this guideline. This is stated in the new code for the Safe Transport of Wheelchair Occupants (VVR).

The current Code VVR is in effect in October 29 and is based on the principle that wheelchair users are transported in a fixed seat. If this is not possible, they may be transported in wheelchairs that comply with the ISO guideline. These can be recognized by the hook symbol. If this is also not possible, they will be transported without other passengers – or ‘solo’.

The transitional arrangement of the VVR code is after two previous extensions, due to the corona crisis in November 2017 again extended to 27 December 2021. Henk van Gelderen of Social Fund Mobility (SFM) explains that in recent years, the possibilities and impossibilities that arise in practice in wheelchair transport according to the code have been examined.

In the During the transition period, many discussions took place between all stakeholders. “A lot has been achieved in this regard,” says Van Gelderen. “Manufacturers have investigated several complex combinations of wheelchairs to make the crash test safe, information was provided and training was followed by carriers. But above all, more insight has been gained into the complexity of the practice and relevant legislation.”

Crash test still highly recommended Finally, SFM has arrived at a new code VVR. The crash test is still strongly recommended here, but because there are also wheelchairs that cannot be crash tested, this is no longer a requirement for transport with several people. “These wheelchairs can be safe, but the people now have to be transported solo because their wheelchair does not have a hook symbol.”

According to Van Gelderen, this is not an optimal solution. “At the same time, there are also wheelchairs that comply with the guideline, but which do not prove to be properly secured. That is why, based on what the code prescribes, it is now checked whether a wheelchair can be safely attached and transported and solo transport is cancelled.”

Further information and training The updated VVR code will come into effect on 1 January 2021. SFM is committed to further information and training of drivers to apply the code correctly, says Van Gelderen. “We are going to make new instructional videos and a special course is being developed to train drivers even better. Because the responsibility for the safety of the passengers always lies with the carrier and the driver, it is important that they can make a correct assessment on the basis of the code whether the wheelchair can be transported safely.”

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