Literature has demonstrated that having stable access to a personal vehicle for individuals with disabilities (IWDs) and their household family members may contribute to their sense of independence, while reducing risk of social marginalization (Jansuwan et al. 2013; Power, 2016). Rosenbloom (2007) also reported the dependence non-driving IWDs have on personal vehicles, with the majority of their transportation needs met by private cars due to factors such as insufficient public transportation options. With the inordinate cost of owning and modifying vehicles to support the needs of the IWDs, literature suggests that vehicle accessibility modifications may be fashioned by unqualified actors, and/or not properly adjusted as the disabilities of the individual change over time, potentially compromising the safety and well-being of both passengers and drivers (Batavia & Bealaurier, 2001; Di Stefano, 2019; NHTSA, n.d.). Though prior research demonstrates the equity that personal vehicles bring, there is limited literature aimed at understanding the safety and use of personal vehicles from the combined perspectives of the IWDs, their household family members, and home health care workers. This research aims to understand how owning and operating a household vehicle used to transport IWDs influences the comfort, safety, and ease of use and for IWDs, their family members and home health care workers. In other words, we will be analyzing the accessibility modifications, subsequent safety risks and its implications on the overall well-being of IWD, alongside their household family members and home healthcare workers.
U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology – $4,883.60
Subsequent results from this research aim to provide insights and design recommendations that are actionable within the commercial vehicle industry; while providing visibility, representation, and perspective into this largely overlooked group of drivers and passengers.