Motor vehicle controls standard is revised to help increase driver safety

20 June 2019

Standards Australia has been working with the broad automotive sector, rehabilitation engineers, therapists, disability advocacy groups and vehicle modification experts to improve the standard for motor vehicle controls for people with disabilities, and has just released AS 3954:2019, Motor vehicle driver controls – Adaptive systems for people with disabilities.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports that over 4 million Australians are living with disability[1] which may affect their mobility or access to public and private transport.

The design or modification of products (including vehicles) can make it possible for people with disabilities to go about their daily life and have the same freedom other Australians experience.

The revised standard sets a benchmark for motor vehicle controls for people with disabilities. The standard emphasises performance requirements for vehicle controls rather than design constraints. This allows for tailored solutions for particular driver’s needs that meet minimum safety requirements. Design constraints within the Standard are restricted to aspects concerning safety and conformance with Australian Design Rules for vehicles.

“We’re incredibly proud to work with the community that supports thousands of Australians living with disability,” said Mr Adrian O’Connell, Acting CEO of Standards Australia.

“This standard is intended to enable more people with disability to drive safely, giving them access to greater mobility and more freedom in their everyday life – an incredible achievement we are proud to have helped deliver”.

This standard helps to ensure consistency and rigour to how motor vehicle controls are fitted to vehicles.

“It will prove helpful for drivers, funders and insurers, those who design and install adaptive systems and transport authorities. It provides performance based criteria to establish what a safe and quality product looks like. As programs like the National Disability Insurance Scheme focus on individualised solutions that achieve better outcomes for consumers, this guidance will be particularly important,” says Kristen Morris, Senior Rehabilitation Engineer and Chairperson of the Standard Committee.

“With only one other global standard in place, this Standard shines a spotlight on how Australia is leading the charge for people with disabilities,” concluded Ms Morris.

[1] https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs

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