Millions of Americans have some type of disability. Many of the most common disabilities make it difficult or impossible for a person to drive a vehicle with standard controls that require the use of both arms and legs. For disabled drivers who cannot use their legs or feet to operate a vehicle’s pedals, hand controls are an excellent option.

Vehicle hand controls come in several different types. What type of hand controls a person requires depends on the type of disability they have. Some hand controls are simple devices that make turning a steering wheel easier, such as a steering wheel extension or steering ball, while others are more high-tech electronic adaptions.

People have many questions about hand controls: What type of hand controls are available? Can all types of vehicle be fitted with hand controls? Do you need special training to drive a vehicle with hand controls? How much does it cost to equip a car with hand controls? Below we’ll answer these questions and more.

Dr Handicap - hand controls
Image by Free-Photos on Pixabay: Hand controls make it possible to drive without using your feet or legs.

What Are Hand Controls For Disabled Drivers?

Hand controls refer to any device that is fitted or installed in a vehicle that enables a driver to operate the vehicle entirely with their hands. Hand controls make it possible to drive a vehicle without having to use legs or feet.

Who Uses Hand Controls In A Vehicle?

Hand controls are usually used by disabled drivers who cannot use their feet or legs to operate a vehicle. This could be a person who has had one or both legs amputated, or someone who has a loss of mobility or power in their leg or foot that makes operating the pedals difficult.

What Types Of Vehicle Can Be Fitted With Hand Controls?

Any type of vehicle can be fitted with hand controls. Anything ranging from a large truck or SUV to a small sports car can be driven using hand controls. Even Harley Davidson motorcycles can be fitted with them!

What Types Of Hand Controls Are Available?

Hand controls enable a driver to operate the gas and brake pedals (and the clutch in manual vehicles) with their hands using levers or buttons on or near the steering wheel.

The most common types of hand controls are:

  • Push/pull accelerator/brake devices
  • Over-ring push accelerator
  • Ghost under-wheel accelerator
  • Brake levers
  • Trigger operated accelerator/brake devices
  • Stick-steer steering devices with secondary controls
  • Various remote control devices that mount on a steering wheel and operate vehicle controls
  • Floor-mount mechanical accelerator/brake levers
  • Steering wheel extension
  • Steering wheel-mounted steering ball

How Much Does It Cost To Put Hand Controls In A Car?

The cost of putting hand controls in a car varies a lot depending on what type of hand controls you choose. At the top end, digital accelerator rings can start at $12,000. Various push/pull devices cost between $1,000–$6,000. Steering wheel extensions and steering wheel mounted steering balls can cost as little as $50.

Does Medicare Pay For Automobile Hand Controls?

Medicare may cover the cost of automobile hand controls if they are deemed to be “durable medical equipment”. You may have your costs covered if hand controls are deemed medically necessary by your physician.

Dr Handicap - car controls
Image by lukpixaby on Pixabay: Hand controls can be fitted on any car.

Can You Qualify For A Disabled Parking Permit If You Use Hand Controls?

Any driver who needs to use hand controls because they have a disability that prevents them from being able to use their feet and legs to operate pedals will qualify for a disabled parking permit.

What Are The Qualifying Conditions For A Disabled Parking Permit?

The qualifying conditions for a disabled parking permit include two broad categories that almost always apply to people who cannot use their legs or feet to drive:

  • Any person who cannot walk 200 ft without needing to stop to rest
  • Any person who cannot walk without the aid of an assistive device such as a crutch, cane, prosthetic device, wheelchair, or another person

How Do I Apply For A Disabled Parking Permit?

The quickest and easiest way to apply for a disabled parking permit is to arrange an online consultation with a medical professional through Dr. Handicap. The examining medical professional will verify your disability and fill in the relevant sections of a disabled parking permit application form, which you can then submit to your local DMV.

Featured image by Skitterphoto on Pixabay