If you're an American with a disability, you're in good company. According to the 2010 US census, 54 million Americans have a disability, including 5.5 million disabled veterans. Five percent of children ages 5-17 have disabilities, 10% of people 19-64 have disabilities, and 38% of adults 65 and older have disabilities. Of the total number, 11 million need personal assistance with everyday activities, 3.3 million 15 and older use a wheelchair, and thousands under 15 years of age use wheelchairs, too. For most of the 54 million with a disability, safe, comfortable transportation isn't an issue, but transportation can be a serious matter for those who use wheelchairs. While more 98% of our country's transit buses are equipped with lifts and ramps, millions of wheelchair users live in locations without public transportation. The number of accessible taxis in major cities is growing, but that doesn't help wheelchair users who live in small cities and rural areas. Wheelchair accessible vans provide safe, reliable transportation for wheelchair users who want greater freedom and independence. Getting in and out of a non-accessible vehicle can put both the wheelchair user and the caretaker at risk for injury. An accessible vehicle, especially equipped for transporting wheelchair users, is the safest, most convenient and comfortable way to get people with disabilities on the road to errands, appointments, and good times anywhere. And people in wheelchairs have the choice of driving or enjoying the ride as a passenger.
Whether you are an independent wheelchair user, a caretaker, a parent, or business that can benefit from a special needs van, the ideal customized accessible van is waiting for you. A side entry handicap accessible van typically has a powered wheelchair ramp with convenient interior and exterior controls, as well as manual back-up for emergency situations. Side entry vans have room for as many as passengers and one wheelchair user, and they're perfect for independently living people with disabilities who drive, or families with a wheelchair user. A long-channel, rear entry wheelchair modified van can carry two wheelchair users at the same time. This economical modification is perfect for businesses (nursing homes and non-emergency medical transport providers) and organizations (churches, schools) that provide wheelchair transport. Rear entry special needs vans usually feature a lightweight, spring-loaded manual ramp with a channel that runs from the rear of the van directly to the passenger area. You'll also find a variety of optional equipment, like wheelchair tie-downs, electronically monitored wheelchair docks, hand controls for driving, transfer seats, and other mobility equipment to customize your vehicle.
If you need a handicap accessible van temporarily, for a vacation or while healing from an injury that has put you in a wheelchair, AMS Vans has special needs vans for rent on a short- and long- term basis. In today's economy, it's understandable that you might want to learn more about wheelchair modified vans before buying. AMS Vans will put 50% of your monthly rental fees (up to 12 months) toward the purchase price if you decide to buy after renting your handicap accessible minivan.