Frequently Asked Questions: Bus Safety / WC19

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What is WC19?

WC19 is a standard developed by the wheelchair industry and transportation safety experts, which sets out certain minimum performance criteria for wheelchairs used as seating aboard a motor vehicle. This criteria includes design, test procedures, and performance guidelines to protect the safety of wheelchair occupants in the event of a crash.

In compliance with WC19 crash-test requirements, Convaid’s transit wheelchairs are dynamically tested at 30 mph/20 g deceleration. What if the bus or van travels faster than 30 mph?

The designation “30 mph/20 g deceleration” refers to the change in vehicle speed during an accident, not to the speed of the vehicle prior to the accident. A crash test at 30 mph/20 g deceleration represents a crash severity in the 95th-percentile, that is, 95% of real-world accidents involving passenger cars, minivans, and sport utility vehicles. For buses, a 30 mph/20 g deceleration change in speed is even less likely, but WC19 requires that products be tested for this worst-case scenario with the understanding that relatively few real-world accidents will be as severe. The analogy of the 30mph crash test is “like hitting a cement wall in an automobile head-on at 30mph without braking and the wall doesn’t break or move”.

Can my child be transported in a tilt-in-space chair with the chair in a tilted position?

It is safest for the wheelchair to be transported in an upright position. However, if for medical reasons your child must ride in a tilted position, he or she may do so provided that the seat back is within 30° of vertical. The seat back is designed to remain in a locked position during a motor vehicle accident. Convaid’s tilt-in-space transit wheelchairs, the Safari and the Rodeo, have been successfully crash tested in a tilted position.

Can I retrofit my non-transit wheelchair for WC19 compliance?

Convaid will retrofit any Convaid standard model wheelchair (excepting those models for which the transit option is not available), with the necessary transit equipment for up to one year after purchase at the current retrofit price. The wheelchair and original purchase documentation must be sent to Convaid for an authorized retrofit.

Why do I need to use a three-point occupant restraint on the vehicle if my child’s wheelchair has its own positioning belts?

The seatbelts and other positioning devices that may be used on your wheelchair during non-transit use are not the same as the occupant restraints used to keep your child secure in the event of a motor vehicle accident. The bus or van driver must employ the 3-point occupant restraint system, which secures the occupant in the wheelchair, in order for your child to be safe. Wheelchair positioning belts and devices will not protect your child in the event of a motor vehicle accident.

I was told that strollers are not suitable for transport aboard a motor vehicle. Is my Convaid chair considered a stroller?

Although Convaid transit wheelchairs benefit from some of the design features of strollers, they are not strollers, but lightweight, compact-folding wheelchairs. Convaid transit wheelchairs have been dynamically crash tested and certified to meet or exceed the most stringent WC/19 standards. If you have any questions about Convaid transit wheelchairs or would like copies of crash-test results, please contact our toll-free Bus Info Line at 1-844 US MOBILITY (844-876-6245), ext. 287.

Will the design features that go into making a transit wheelchair conflict with the other features and functions of my wheelchair?

Convaid’s transit wheelchairs do not sacrifice any of the functions of standard models. The features that give the wheelchair improved dynamic strength are essentially invisible to the user, except for the four red anchor points located on the wheelchair’s legs and used to tie down the wheelchair. Ordering a Convaid transit wheelchair means that you will not need to purchase an additional car seat for the bus or van.

Are wheelchair user weight limits on the transit wheelchairs the same as on the standard models?

No. In some cases, transit wheelchair models were dynamically tested with weights somewhat less than the standard model limit. To request a brochure detailing this information, please contact our Literature Request Line at 1-844 US MOBILITY (844-876-6245), ext. 203, or our toll-free Bus Info Line at ext. 287

Can I use a seat or back cushion on my child’s transit wheelchair? How about a seating system?

Convaid-manufactured seat and back cushions have been dynamically crash tested and may be used on your Convaid transit wheelchair. Only seating systems that have been dynamically tested and therefore are WC19 compliant should be used. Please contact Customer Service at 1-844 US MOBILITY (844-876-6245) for further information.

My Convaid wheelchair does not have red anchors. Is it safe to use as seating aboard a motor vehicle?

All Convaid transit wheelchairs have red anchors located on the frame of the wheelchair. Do not use your wheelchair as seating in a motor vehicle unless it is equipped with these anchors. (Please see question #5.)

I have been advised that anchor points on a transit wheelchair should be welded onto the frame. Are Convaid’s bolted anchors safe to use?

Convaid’s transit wheelchair anchor points are secured to the frame with “hardened bolts.” Hardened bolts tightened with the proper torque are actually stronger than welded parts. Convaid’s transit wheelchair anchor points have been attached properly and meet or exceed WC19 minimums in dynamic testing. It is vital that the hardened bolts attaching the anchor points not be adjusted. Tightening or loosening the bolts may make them less secure. If you have any questions about Convaid transit wheelchairs or would like copies of crash-test results, please contact our Customer Service Department at 1-844 US MOBILITY (844-876-6245).

Will my Convaid transit wheelchair need to be replaced in the event of an accident or sudden stop?

Not necessarily. However, our technicians at Convaid will need to determine which parts, if any, need to be repaired or replaced after a transit wheelchair has been in a motor vehicle accident. Convaid’s repair warranty will apply in case of accident provided that the wheelchair is shipped to Convaid by the original user accompanied by a copy of the police accident report documenting that the wheelchair was in a motor vehicle accident.

Is it okay to make modifications to a transit wheelchair?

Any significant modifications to your transit wheelchair should be made by Convaid. Any modification to a transit wheelchair’s frame, parts, or accessories renders Convaid’s warranty null and void. If other than Convaid or Convaid-approved accessories are used or if the wheelchair is used in manner other than that for which it was intended, the warranty will be rendered null and void. Furthermore, any modification to a transit wheelchair’s frame, parts, or accessories may place your child at risk of injury in the event of a motor vehicle accident.

Can I transport my transit wheelchair with the optional tray in place?

No. Remove any wheelchair-mounted accessories, such as trays and respiratory equipment, and secure them elsewhere in the vehicle. Be sure that they are secured sufficiently that they will not break free and injure the wheelchair user or other motor vehicle occupants in the event of an accident.

What is the warranty on Convaid wheelchairs?

The warranty in the U.S. and Canada covers any part of a Convaid product that is found to be defective within the warranty period. Convaid will repair or replace these parts free of charge. Warranty service may be performed by an authorized service center or at the Convaid factory at Convaid’s option. The warranty goes to the original retail purchaser of the Convaid product.

Warranty Period in the U.S. and Canada:

  • Frame and Cross-Braces: Lifetime of original retail buyer (except Cruiser, Lite Rider and Vivo)
  • Frame and Cross-Braces for Cruiser, Lite Rider and Vivo: 5 years
  • Other Components: One year
  • Fabric and webbing: One year
  • Sensiform Cushions: 2 years
  • Planar Seat and Back: 5 years hardware, 18 months for other components
  • Occ-Flex Cushioned Headrest: 5 years hardware, 1 year for other components

The warranty on Convaid products may vary in other countries.