Transport and your Mounting System – Best Practice

an image of a modified vehicle

A few question we often get asked is whether a device mounting system can stay attached to a wheelchair when a person is being transported in a vehicle? Is it safe? What are the considerations?

These mounting systems are used to position speech generating devices or other technology for the occupant to use for communication amongst other functions.  This is not a straightforward question as the person being transported may like to have the ability to communicate whilst in the vehicle. Having access to their device needs to be balanced with the risks involved in keeping their technology attached to their wheelchair and suitable solutions investigated.

Best Practice

Where possible, we would recommend that a person adhere to best practice and refer to the relevant Australian/New Zealand Standards (AS/NZS) if they need to travel in a wheelchair in a vehicle.

AS/NZS 3696.19:2009 provides guidelines for safe wheelchair travel. Whilst this standard doesn’t have specific information pertaining to or directly mentioning mounting system use in vehicles, there is a section regarding wheelchair trays and ancillary devices in vehicles.

This section of the Standard covers trays and fittings immediately in front of a wheelchair occupant which could cause abdominal or head injuries in the event of a frontal impact of the vehicle. It also includes reference to objects coming free in the event of any impact which may inflict injuries on other vehicle occupants.

Therefore, we believe that this standard is also relevant to the use of wheelchair-attached mounting systems which could potentially pose similar risks to the wheelchair occupant and passengers.

Remove, Where Possible

an image showing a DAESSY frame clamp assembly after the mount kit has been removed on a Quickie ZM-310

We would recommend, where possible, mounting systems along with hard trays and other equipment mounted on the wheelchair are removed for travel and secured safely in the vehicle.

Mounting systems designed to position technology have a quick release mechanism in their design which allows for easy release and removal of the mount assembly from the wheelchair. First remove the speech generating device or mounted technology from the mount and place it securely, wither in a padded bag (ask your SGD supplier what might be best for your device) or with similar protection. Then the mount is removed from the chair and stowed securely in the cabin in a similar manner. Mount Kit Carry Bags, particular for DAESSY Folding Mounts, work extremely well in this regard.

Both the device and mount need to be safely secured in the vehicle.  If access to a communication system is required during transportation, a low-tech or light-tech system is to be considered where possible. 

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