Lift dealers face reg issues

Friday, August 19, 2016

Federal regulations could make life significantly more complicated for owners of vehicles with mobility lifts and the providers who install them.

Beginning this year, 10% of new vehicles under 10,000 pounds must have a back-up camera installed by the original equipment manufacturer. Next year, the number rises to 40%, and by 2018 it becomes 100%.

The catch: Those cameras cannot be obstructed, which will present a problem for thousands of wheelchair and scooter users and the providers who install their lifts.

Too many providers are unaware of the fact that they can be held liable should accidents occur due to obstructed cameras, says Ty Salvatore, owner of Jupiter, Fl.-based Mobility Lift Accessories and an industry veteran.

“Those that do know may think that users can buy an off-the-shelf camera for their lifts to meet the requirements,” he said, “but those cameras may not meet the full range of federal criteria.”

And even then providers are still responsible.

As Salvatore sees it, lift manufacturers should be the ones who step up and solve the problem by adding cameras to their lifts, but in his conversations with them, he has found little to no interest in that solution.

Moreover, Salvatore says the government officials he has communicated with at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have indicated that they can’t mandate that manufacturers comply with the regulations.

Lift manufacturer Harmar acknowledges that until a solution is reached, back-up cameras and sensors must be disconnected. However, the company has been “working hard to develop a solution that is cost effective, practical, secure and accurate.” 

“We do have plans to launch this well in time to comply with the standards,” said David Baxter, vice president of marketing at Harmar.