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Van Info Page

 

I thought it appropriate to show you a bit about why the van I need is so much more expensive than your normally handicap equipped van. So, here are pictures of not only vans like I want, but photos of the type of driving aides I will also need to enable me to drive. The unfortunate part of this is that I am not able to give individual prices, because most of this equipment is sold as a package and what is not sold as a package is priced according to how much customization is needed...different levels of disablities require different levels or types of customized equipment (this is better understood as you see the different items available). At this time, I would like to thank Richard Baldwin of Mobility Independent Transportation Systems, Inc. (M.I.T.S. Corporation) for allowing me to use photos and information from their site. Richard also advertises through and writes a column for Disabled Dealer Magazine which is another great source for all types of handicap equipped vehicles and other disablity needs.

The Van

The van I prefer is a Ford Windstar, but I recently found out that the Toyota Sienna is now able to be equipped for a disabled driver. Since I haven't gotten all the details about the Toyota, most of what you'll see here is what I already know works...which is a Ford Windstar!

I just love how compact the wheelchair ramps are made now, no more clunky space consuming lifts. Yes...extra space is still needed, just not as much. This is definitely the type of van entry I want!

This is the removable seat I will need to enable anyone else to ride/drive my van. It will be the only seat in the front of the van since I will be riding and driving from my wheelchair. The reason it is removable is to allow you to switch it from the driver's side to the passenger side. In other words, if I'm driving it will allow someone to ride on the passenger side, and if I'm the passenger, it allows someone else to drive my van. Generally these type of seats have a handle across the back and small wheels on the base, they also have a locking mechanism that works with my wheelchair tie-downs.

Speaking of tie-downs, this is the system needed to safely and securely hold my wheelchair in place while riding or driving. When looking at the rectangular box you can see a cut-out area, this is where an attachment that is bolted to the bottom of my wheelchair slides in, then the system locks my chair in place. There is a button placed in an easily reached area of the van that I push to release them.

Next, we have the steering wheel. I think this is one of the most unique pieces of equipment I need for driving. This is a smaller steering wheel (which isn't much bigger than the rim on a standard cereal bowl) that is mounted on a small post so it may be moved for access to the regular steering wheel by another driver. The reason I need this is because my arms are shorter due to spine and joint degenerative disease which decreases "range of motion" (the ability to reach up, down, in back or in front of your body).

This is the gas and brake hand control I need which operates quite similarly to the control on my wheelchair. If I'm not mistaken, I was told this could be programmed so the forward motion was either gas or brake and the same was true for the reverse motion. When I used this control, forward was gas and reverse was brake...I'm comfortable with that setting.

This is just an example of a touch pad used for driving. As you can see with this picture, anything from starting the vehicle to shifting gears can be done just by touching the appropriate square. I need one of these for lights (high and low beam), signal lights (left and right turns), windshield wipers and horn. The touchpad is one of the most expensive pieces of handicap equipment.

Photos were left out of a lowered-floor I need because when you look inside an equipped van you really can't tell it has one. I also left out pictures of the automatic door opener for the same reason...you can see the door opening, but the mechanism used is usually hidden.

So, there you have the list of items that are a must for my independence. I'm sure you can see why a van equipped for me is roughly $65,000. In fact, the estimated total of the last three pictured items alone is $20,000! Now, since a few folks have requested it I will show the estimated monetary breakdown so you can see how I came up with the van's final cost being $65,000...

Van
$20,000 - $25,000
Lift, Lowered Floor, Wheelchair Tie-downs and Automatic Door Opener
$20,000
Customized Driving Equipment
$20,000
TOTAL:
$65,000

Please remember...I'm asking for your help in giving me much needed independence!

It has come to my attention by someone that has donated money using their credit card to inform you that PayPal takes 2.9% of every donation amount given by credit card. So, this will make the "Current Balance" seem like an odd dollar amount. This is not a big problem for me, just something I want everyone aware of in the future. If by some chance you have an account with PayPal, you can donate directly from your account to mine by using the email address of: sweethp@adelphia.net. There are no fees charged when making a donation from one account to another.

Or you may send donations to:

National Bank Of Commerce

115 West Main Street

Bedford, VA 24523

Please note that it is for the Lynn Orange Handicapped Van Fund when sending your donation!