|Wheelchair accessible vehicles at a glance|
|Size and Suitability||The vehicle must accommodate the driver plus a person travelling in their wheelchair plus at least one other adult passenger and also, when not carrying a person in a wheelchair, 3 passengers in addition to the driver. Specific minimum dimensions exist for the wheelchair space: 1,200mm length and 1,350mm headroom.|
|Doors||Access for a person seated in a wheelchair is required, a minimum unobstructed opening of 745mm wide by 1,250mm high. Such a door may be to the nearside or the rear where a tailgate is acceptable as the wheelchair accessible entry point, e.g. the popular “dropped floor” style of vehicle.|
|Specialist wheelchair equipment||This includes, for example, a ramp or lift, external access step, internal handholds, and approved restraints for the wheelchair and a safety belt for the passenger travelling in the wheelchair. All accessible vehicles require the Technical Assessor’s Full Report and supporting in-vehicle test data, see Technical Assessor’s Full Report guidance. Note: All Technical Assessor’s Reports to be less than 60 days old. These in-vehicle strength tests are destructive and cannot be performed retrospectively. They must be for the same type of body shell/conversion design and be properly documented and certified. Where a larger vehicle has been converted using a structural floor system then the floor system manufacturer generally owns the proof rather than the floor installer. Note please understand the detailed requirements here are considerable and you risk never being able to license the vehicle unless you have all the required proof.|
|Glass Tint||Dark glass is not allowed except behind the passenger. In practice this means that privacy glass, even where standard manufacturer supplied is only allowed in the rear tailgate. See the Initial Suitability Inspection Manual for how to check this.|
|Age||Under 6 years for a new licence and under10 years for Change of Vehicle, calculated from date of first registration regardless of where it was first registered. See box “B” in the Vehicle Registration Certificate, or box “I” or box “B” is blank. See Age Rules|
Wheelchair accessible taxis and wheelchair accessible hackneys must be constructed or converted specifically to accommodate at least one person sitting in a wheelchair and at least one other adult passenger. When no wheelchair is carried, the vehicle must be capable of accommodating three adult passengers.
Wheelchair accessible vehicles must also have specialist equipment including:
- Wheelchair ramps or lifts
- Approved restraints for wheelchairs and passengers travelling in wheelchairs
- The internationally recognised accessibility symbol on the roof sign (wheelchair accessible taxi) or door (wheelchair accessible hackney)
Suitability requirements for wheelchair accessible vehicles
(Requirements for wheelchair accessible vehicles are summarised in Information Guide G9)
All wheelchair accessible vehicles are essentially ‘modified’ vehicles, and the structural changes need formal certification. Licences are issued only for vehicles that meet the standards explained in the NTA’s Initial Suitability Inspection Manual. These standards must be certified by a qualified Technical Assessor, who must complete a Technical Assessor’s Full Report to certify that the vehicle meets the required standards. In making the assessment, the Technical Assessor will measure some items, and will rely on formal test data provided by the vehicle manufacturer, the vehicle converter or the supplier or installer of parts for others.
The Technical Assessor’s Full Report must be dated no more than 60 days before the date of the Initial Suitability Inspection. Technical Assessor
Before you buy a vehicle for use as a wheelchair accessible SPSV, you should check that the vehicle meets these standards and that this can be verified by a qualified Technical Assessor. You must obtain several items of documentation from the vehicle manufacturer or converter to support your application. You will need manufacturer certification for any seats that have been added or adapted, and test reports or type approvals for the in-vehicle strength of these and the wheelchair tie-down anchorages and for the wheelchair occupant seat belt anchorages. Without this documentation, the Technical Assessor will be unable to certify the vehicle. Important: the in-vehicle strength tests cannot be undertaken retrospectively.
The Technical Assessor who examines and certifies a wheelchair accessible vehicle must:
- Hold an engineering qualification (Level 7 or higher on the National Framework of Qualifications) having followed a course of study accredited by Engineers Ireland*, or be accredited by Engineers Ireland as a Chartered or Associate Engineer,
- or be a Member or Incorporated Member of the Institute of Automotive Engineer Assessors
- Have a minimum of five years’ experience of working in a suitable technical environment (preferably automotive or engineering)
- Have access to adequate facilities to carry out a thorough vehicle examination, and
- Hold appropriate professional indemnity insurance