This post is also available in: Nederlands (Dutch)
Safety of wheelchair transport
In order to improve the safety of wheelchair transport, the Netherlands has a long tradition. Including a Code VVR, which contains rules that the various interested parties should adhere to. There are currently two VVR codes coexisting. 1: the successor to the Code VVR from 1999, registered and maintained by Ap Peters (Code VVR A. Peters).
2: a code issued by Social Fund Mobility (Code VVR SFMopens PDF file ) supported by KNV taxi, Firevaned and trade unions, in which Ieder(in) read along.
According to this second, much more sober, Code VVR SFM, only wheelchairs that have complied to a crash test should be used in taxi transport as a seat. (Target date introduction of Code VVR SFM 1 January 2021)
Two Codes is not only confusing. The Code VVR SFM is also not yet fully in operation. After first postponement, because the “solution” for users-of-a-custom-made-wheelchair, who cannot use a crashed test wheelchair, would exclude. They would then have to be transported individually in a taxi bus. In the meantime, the introduction has been suspended for another six months until 1 January 2021. This is partly because the consultation on the exceptions is at a standstill because of the Covid19 crisis.
- Why does the SFM Code VVR, under the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, not provide a good solution for all wheelchair users?
- Is the failure of the wheelchair during a crash, and therefore the risk of injuring the other passengers, the most important safety risk? More important than any other possible risk?
- We live in Europe, where (just outside Corona) free movement of people and goods must be possible. Will wheelchair users from other European countries be allowed to take a wheelchair taxi?
- How do other countries do that? Dealing with the safety of wheelchair transport. Has that been looked at?
and perhaps the most important:
- Have the interests of wheelchair users, including the use of a properly fitted wheelchair, been adequately addressed?
- Is the argument that the presence of musketon hook symbols on a wheelchair indicate that it has complied with the ISO 7176/19 crash test valid?
- Is a discussion in the taxi between driver and wheelchair user the most appropriate way to enforce the code?
- And certainly now (in these precious times) not insignificant: Is the chosen approach the most cost-efficient method to ensure the safety of wheelchair transport and to continue to make progress?
Step back for a good overview?
It might be good to take a step back and not introduce this Code VVR SFM yet:
Look at the countries around us, learn from the ISO standard and international research. Make a really good risk analysis for the safety of wheelchair transport. Results from international research are available for this purpose. For all wheelchair users, set up the provision of safe wheelchairs (not just the crashed test) properly. Do not place the discussion about safety with the driver and the individual user. Do it together with all parties involved in an open discussion in an inclusive society.
With this series of blogs I want to give a first start. I invite the reader to share their own experiences and comments. This can be done by e-mail (the contact form) or by responding directly to the various blogs.