The Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT) carries out checks on wheelchair transport throughout the Netherlands. A group of twenty new inspectors has been trained for this. To learn more about the securing systems they work with, they attended a workshop at ABC Advice and Training. It was important that they experience what drivers encounter in practice.

“These are very difficult situations that drivers can encounter in wheelchair transport”, says ABC director Yvonne Botterhuis. “There are many different types of wheelchairs and it can be difficult to fasten a seat belt just right.” Despite the fact that there have been courses for drivers for safe wheelchair transport for years, there is a chance that they go wrong. This may result in a fine from the ILT.

The inspectors of the ILT must of course use the correct have knowledge for. They mainly check how a wheelchair is secured and whether the belt is correctly attached. It is also checked whether any items are loose in the wheelchair vehicle, such as retractors or rollators. This can lead to dangerous situations in the unlikely event of an accident.

In the passenger’s skin Inspectors notice that the legislation on wheelchair transport is very limited and not very detailed. For example, it does not state in detail how a wheelchair can be transported safely. This is stated in the code VVR, but this is not checked by the ILT. After all, this is not legislation, explains Botterhuis. Partly for this reason, ABC has updated the ‘Wheelchair ABC’ together with the ILT. This is an online wheelchair course for drivers that is now even required for a number of transport contracts.

ABC organized a number of workshops for the inspectors of the ILT, which are linked to the wheelchair course for drivers. During this workshop, the inspectors learned, among other things, how the different types of securing systems work. They also got into the passenger’s skin. This gave them the opportunity to experience what it is like to sit in a wheelchair, go up with the elevator, how the wheelchair is secured and the seat belt is put on correctly.

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ILT inspectors during ABC’s wheelchair course. New driver after hefty fine immediately away again The inspectors have now started the checks on wheelchair transport. Botterhuis hopes and finds it important that they do this with an educational institution, in addition to being controlling. “It is very easy to fine all drivers who have not acted correctly. I would much rather see them report what they see on a first offense and explain what could be done better. They can then announce that no ticket will be issued for this time, only the data will be noted, but that action will be taken the next time. I think this works much better.”

According to Botterhuis, this is also important given the large driver shortage in the industry. “Now if you fine a driver who earns thirteen or fourteen euros gross per hour in his first week, he will leave immediately. Then he will work elsewhere. It is therefore very important to properly train the drivers and inspectors.”

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