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Final Rule Permits Safe Modification of Vehicles for People With Disabilities.

To increase mobility for individuals with physical disabilities, U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta announced a final National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) rule to streamline the regulatory process for modifiers who adapt passenger vehicles for use by people with disabilities.

The new rule identifies specific features that may be safely altered, if necessary, when vehicles are modified for people with disabilities. Some adaptations, such as the installation of mechanical hand controls or a left-foot accelerator, are relatively simple. Others, such as the installation of a joystick that controls steering, acceleration, and braking, or the lowering of the vehicle floor, are more complicated.

NHTSA estimates that there are more than 383,000 vehicles on the road today that are modified for use by people with disabilities. That number is expected to increase as the population ages and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) increases travel and employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

The final rule is in NHTSA's Docket No. 01-8667 and was posted in the Feb. 21, 2001, Federal Register. The rule became effective on April 21.

The new rule also is posted at
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Publication:Public Roads
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2001
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