WC19 A wheelchair transportation safety standard: experience to date and future directions.
Authors: Miriam A. Manary, Nichole L. Ritchie, Lawrence W. Schneider.
ANSI/RESNA WC19 (i.e., WC19) is a voluntary standard that specifies design and performance requirements for wheelchairs that are suitable for use as seats in motor vehicles. The guiding principles for the standard originate from automotive crash-protection principles that are effective in reducing occupant injuries and fatalities. In addition to frontal-impact testing of wheelchairs, the standard includes tests for securement-point accessibility, tiedown-strap clear paths, lateral stability, and accommodation of vehicle-anchored belt restraints. Results from testing wheelchairs to WC19 reveal that the most common wheelchair problems include: a lack of structural integrity during frontal-impact loading; sharp rigid edges; and wheelchair structures that interfere with achieving proper positioning of vehicle-anchored belt restraints. Data from 8 years of experience with WC19 indicate where changes are needed to further improve transportation safety for wheelchair-seated travelers. These include expanding WC19 to include wheelchairs for smaller children who require a five-point harness restraint, and requiring wheelchairs to achieve a minimal rating for the ease of achieving proper positioning of vehicle-anchored belt restraints.