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Disabled Drivers and Passengers: Apdapting Motor Vehicles for People With Disabilities

The mission of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), is to save lives, prevent injuries, and reduce economic costs due to road traffic crashes, through education, research, safety standards, and enforcement activity. As part of this mission, NHTSA regulates the modifications made to vehicles used by people with disabilities.

A Proven Process for Maintaining Freedom on the Road

New and existing adaptive technologies continue to broaden opportunities for people with disabilities to drive both comfortably and safely. Some of these adaptive technologies are as simple as swivel seats for more convenient access. Others, such as hand controls, may be necessary for a driver to safely operate a vehicle. Whatever your requirements, chances are good that adaptive equipment is available to support your special driving needs and allow you to maintain the freedom offered by the open road.

The information on this site is based on the experience of driver rehabilitation specialists and other professionals who work with people who require adaptive devices for their motor vehicles. The steps outlined here represent a proven process — evaluating your needs, making sure the vehicle “fits” you properly, choosing appropriate features, installing and knowing how to use adaptive devices, practicing good vehicle maintenance — that can help you avoid costly mistakes when modifying or purchasing a vehicle to accommodate your driving requirements.

Also included is general information on cost savings, licensing requirements, and organizations to contact for additional assistance. Although the material focuses on drivers of modified vehicles, each section also contains important information for people who drive passengers with disabilities.

U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
1-800-424-9153 (TTY)