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Last updateSun, 06 Nov 2016 10am

Back You are here: Home Motoring Motoring Adapting a Car Safety


There was some concern that if these devices are used in conjunction with an airbag, injury could be caused if the steering aid is dislodged or loosened when the airbag is inflated.

The UK's Department of Transport commissioned research at the Transport Research Laboratory to establish any problems when using airbags and steering attachments. The result of this research can be summarised as follows:

  • The airbags were able to inflate fully.
  • None of the steering devices were damaged, but some were pushed out of position.
  • The dummy used showed no damage to its hand or arm.
  • No hand or arm was trapped when the airbag was inflated.

The general advice seems to be that airbags are safe to use with steering attachments. However, steering attachments with a cross-bar going over the steering wheel should not be used, as this can impede the airbag from fully expanding, or can be detached from the steering wheel and cause serious injury if it hits the driver on the head or abdomen.

Travelling on Cushions in Vehicles

Many people need to sit on their cushions when travelling in a vehicle, either as a driver or passenger, or sometimes when travelling in their wheelchair in a van, minibus or in a coach. Some people use their wheelchair cushion to 'lift' them when driving. Others use them for comfort or to reduce the build up of pressure.

An important aspect of using a cushion, and one that is often forgotten, is securing the cushion to the wheelchair or vehicle seat. If, during a frontal impact accident, the passenger is secured and the cushion is not, the cushion can slide under the user and force the user to be 'dropped' down into the chair and cause injury from the seat belt hitting the soft abdominal tissue and across the user's face or neck.

Securing the cushion is important and it must be secured appropriately. Using a Velcro belt is not usually enough. A strap that is secured around the back of the seat is best. Another alternative for a driver or passenger of small stature is to use a child's booster cushion. This should be correctly anchored using the vehicle seat belt system and meet current safety standards.

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