Bill to require four-point securing of wheelchairs in paratransit vehicles heard in committee

A bill that would require operators of paratransit vehicles to secure any wheelchaired passenger using a four-point securing system was

A bill that would require operators of paratransit vehicles to secure any wheelchaired passenger using a four-point securing system was heard in committee Thursday.

The Assembly Transportation committee heard from Amy Chan, whose husband was injured in an April 2008 accident while riding in a paratransit van, and was then on a respirator for eight months before dying.

Chan told the committee she believes her husband’s injuries would not have been so severe had he been properly secured.

Another witness, Rene Cantwell, said that her research showed that improperly securing of wheelchairs  is the leading cause of injury to wheelchair-bound passengers.

She told the committee that “The cost of retrofitting will not bankrupt these companies.” She said the paratransit industry “is following the letter of the law but not the industry standard.’’

The bill A3867 – which was being discussed only and not subject to a vote – is sponsored by David C. Russo, (R-40), Midland Park.

The bill defines a four-point securement system as “a complete four-point system that includes four wheelchair restraints to secure a wheelchair to the vehicle floor; occupant securements; a lap and shoulder belt that integrate to the rear wheelchair restraints; and floor anchorages installed in the vehicle floor.” Bill to require four-point securing of wheelchairs in paratransit vehicles heard in committee