WASHINGTON, Sept. 13, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Paralyzed Veterans of America (Paralyzed Veterans) is pleased with the passage by the House of H.R. 3471, the Veterans Mobility Safety Act. This bill would require the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to set comprehensive standards for providers of automobile adaptive equipment, such as wheelchair lifts and reduced-effort steering and braking systems. Now Paralyzed Veterans is calling on the Senate to take swift action to advance similar legislation currently pending before the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs.
"The independence that driving a vehicle gives back to paralyzed and disabled veterans is something none of us take for granted," said Sherman Gillums, Jr., executive director of Paralyzed Veterans of America. "We applaud the House for passing this legislation and making the safety of these adapted vehicles and those veterans who drive them a priority. We now urge the Senate to take immediate action and follow suit."
H.R. 3471 was original introduced by Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN), Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-CA), Rep. Julia Brownley (D-CA), to ensure disabled veterans relying on mobility equipment receive the best quality, performance and safety.
Through the VA's Automobile Adaptive Equipment (AAE) program, eligible disabled veterans have access to automotive mobility products, such as wheelchair lifts and reduced-effort steering and braking in vehicles. However, the VA does not require any type of quality standards for providers to participate in the AAE program, resulting in some cases of inferior providers improperly installing equipment, causing serious safety issues for veterans and motorists.
The final version of H.R. 3471 requires the VA to update its outdated policies on adaptive equipment with comprehensive quality standards developed in close consultation with stakeholders, including veteran service organizations, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, and industry representatives.
Paralyzed Veterans of America is the only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated solely for the benefit and representation of veterans with spinal cord injury or disease. For nearly 70 years, we have ensured that veterans have received the benefits earned through their service to our nation; monitored their care in VA spinal cord injury units; and funded research and education in the search for a cure and improved care for individuals with paralysis.
As a partner for life, Paralyzed Veterans also develops training and career services, works to ensure accessibility in public buildings and spaces, provides health and rehabilitation opportunities through sports and recreation and advocates for veterans and all people with disabilities. With more than 70 offices and 34 chapters, Paralyzed Veterans serves veterans, their families and their caregivers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. (www.pva.org)
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SOURCE Paralyzed Veterans of America