Adopted in 2011
Retired in 2019
WHEREAS, A US Department of Transportation study states that the number one cause of injury to passengers in wheelchairs is improper securement while engaged in motor vehicle transit. Passengers in wheelchairs include children, adolescents, adults, and geriatric users; and
WHEREAS, University of California, San Francisco statistics show there are approximately 88,000 children (ages 18 and under) who currently utilize, and are transported while seated in, wheelchairs. That same study shows that there are over 1.5 million total wheelchair users nationally; and
WHEREAS, The Federal Safety regulations, which serve as the basis for New Jersey’s seat belt laws, neglect to mandate safety for passengers who use wheelchairs as their seats; and
WHEREAS, NJ legislation: Bill numbers A2036 and S715, address the inadequacy in wheelchair passenger occupant securement standards by defining a complete four point securement system that includes a chair to floor and lap/shoulder/waist seatbelts, and mandating industry standards of safety in transit; therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That NJPTA and its constituent organizations urge that all units educate their members on the inefficiencies of the current wheelchair passenger securement standards, the risk of injury to wheelchair riders with the current standards, and the bills in committee addressing proposed changes; and be it further
RESOLVED, The NJPTA and its constituents urge their members to support bills S715 and A2036 and contact the chairmen and members of the Senate and Assembly Transportation Committees to speed these bills through the legislative process.
SUMMARY The 2009 University of Buffalo study titled Wheelchair Mobility research shows that motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for Americans ages 3 through 33. Furthermore, research shows that using pelvic-shoulder safety belts reduces by 45% the risk of fatal injury. The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards regulate the vehicle seat; however, no federal regulations apply to wheelchairs when they are used as seats in vehicles.
This Resolution supports the legislation that serves to correct this oversight and produce equal protection for the vehicle-seat and wheelchair-seat passenger.