The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has finalized a new rule that would improve equity and mobility for drivers and passengers with disabilities. This final rulemaking allows rental car companies to temporarily disable a driver’s knee bolster air bag to install hand controls for people with disabilities, the installation of rear-mounted transporters for wheelchairs and power scooters, and modifiers to lawfully raise the height of a vehicle’s roof to accommodate drivers and passengers with disabilities. These modifications to vehicles remove some barriers faced by drivers and passengers with disabilities.
Federal law generally prohibits a manufacturer, distributor, dealer, rental company or motor vehicle repair business from knowingly disabling any part of a device or element of design installed on or in a motor vehicle in compliance with a Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard. By issuing specific exemptions that balance mobility and safety, NHTSA allows motor vehicle dealers and repair businesses to improve the mobility of drivers and passengers with disabilities.
For more information, contact NHTSA media by email at NHTSAmedia@dot.gov or by phone at 1-202-366-9550.