Veterans Safety Mobility Act moves forward

Thursday, September 29, 2016

WASHINGTON – The Paralyzed Veterans of America has urged the Senate to follow the House of Representatives in passing a bill that would create standards for the provision of automobile adaptive equipment for veterans.

"The independence that driving a vehicle gives back to paralyzed and disabled veterans is something none of us take for granted," said Sherman Gillums, Jr., executive director of Paralyzed Veterans of America, in a release. "We applaud the House for passing this legislation and making the safety of these adapted vehicles and those veterans who drive them a priority. We now urge the Senate to take immediate action and follow suit."

Originally introduced by Reps. Jackie Walorski, R-Ind., Raul Ruiz, D-Calif., and Julia Brownley, D-Calif., the Veterans Mobility Safety Act, would require the Department of Veterans Affairs to set comprehensive standards for providers of automobile adaptive equipment, such as wheelchair lifts and reduced-effort steering and braking systems.

Proponents of the bill say the VA does not require any type of quality standards for providers to participate in its Automobile Adaptive Equipment program, resulting in—in some cases—improperly installing equipment.

This past spring, however, the Independent Auto Lift Dealers of America sent a letter of concern to the Committee of Veterans Affairs in the Senate, asking that the bill differentiate between simple and complex modifications to ensure that exterior lifts that don’t affect the operation of or alter the structure of the vehicle may continue to be installed at home.