"In the UK, there is a company called Motability and every person who qualifies for their disability allowance, is allowed to use a portion of that allowance for car adaptation," explains Rule.This means that once the government has approved the application, the vehicle will be fully paid for by the government. This makes being a disable driver in the UK a whole lot easier. Once the owner has had the vehicle for five years, the vehicle will then be replaced with a newer model. South Africa then imports these vehicles in as second hand and they are made available to the public. After receiving a license, the disabled person is then able to purchase a vehicle with the relevant adaptations.
"Most wheelchairs are 50cm in height. It is slightly easier to get in to a car if the car is higher than the wheelchair rather than it being lower. It all depends on the individual and what their particular needs are," adds Rule.The transfer, which refers to the way the individual gets in and out of the vehicle, needs to be taken in to consideration. If the individual has strong arms then transfer issues would not be a problem.
"It could depend on the strength of their transfers. If you have a strong transfer then they might be happy to get a higher car. However if they don't have a strong transfer then they will be looking for a car that is exactly the same height as the wheelchair and that would depend on what wheelchair they have."
"Six years ago the quote for just a joystick controller was R400 000 and then they still had to lower the floor. In the end it would have cost about R1 million for the vehicle conversion," says Rule.This is just an example as to just how pricey a vehicle and its adaptation can be.
"Anybody who needs an adapted vehicle, qualifies for a rebate on the import duties. So if the car is imported, the government has given a rebate for people with disabilities. The government will give them 15% back so they will be saving," exclaims Rule.
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