Emergency Roadside Assistance for Wheelchair Users

by Quest Staff on July 1, 2009 - 2:21pm

QUEST Vol. 16, No. 3

"I use a power chair and wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your services,” reads a testimonial on the Web site of ADA Nationwide Roadside Assistance, a membership-based emergency assistance service for people with disabilities.

“In August we took a road trip to Northern California to visit family. On I-5, about 30 miles from the nearest town, my van broke down. When I called ADA for help they arranged for a lift van to transport us to a hotel with an accessible room. Shortly thereafter a tow truck arrived to take care of my van. Thank you for being there for me!”

One in four people experience a roadside emergency each year. For people who require wheelchairs for mobility, this can be a particularly difficult situation.

ADA Nationwide Roadside Assistance, of Nuevo, Calif., was created to address this situation by providing emergency roadside assistance tailored both to the needs of people who use mobility devices, and their modified vehicles.

The service currently is the only national one of its kind in the U.S. focused on drivers and passengers with disabilities.

Wheelchair-lift tow trucks

In 1999, Patricia Kosta, a veteran of the auto travel club industry, designed and manufactured a wheelchair-accessible tow truck featuring a wheelchair lift to transport stranded wheelchair users. But Kosta quickly realized that it would take more than a few tow trucks to handle the needs of disabled travelers around the country.

And so she created ADA Nationwide. The membership-based, for-profit travel club works with more than 47,000 towing and road service providers around the country, to offer tow service for adapted vehicles, and accessible transit service for stranded drivers.

The company offers several services.

Emergency lift service: When a vehicle’s lift ramp doesn’t work, a service technician will be dispatched to assist with minor repairs or device override.

Wheelchair battery service: If a member’s power chair loses power while they’re away from home, ADA Nationwide will dispatch a service technician for battery replacement, repair or charging.

Fuel delivery: Out of gas? The company will deliver enough fuel to get you to a service station.

Gas station service assistance: When traveling, ADA Nationwide will locate a fueling station on your route to assist with pumping gas when you arrive.

ADA Personal Assistant Hotline: A toll-free number is staffed around the clock. Services include emergency travel and medical assistance and concierge services, such as theater tickets and prescription deliveries.

Coverage specifics

Members are covered whether riding in their own vehicle or someone else’s, so long as they have their membership card with them.

In some cases, a member might have to initially pay for accessible transportation, and the company would reimburse 100 percent of the cost, up to the mileage limit, which varies according to the membership package. ADA Nationwide says it follows the industry standard of providing four tow/transports a year.

Response time reportedly is within the industry standard of one hour; the company says its average wait time is 45 minutes.

Membership plans start at about $140 a year for one person and one free associate member. More “associates” (other users in the household) can be added at a reduced rate, and receive all the same services, whether or not they have a disability.

For more information, call (800) 720-3132 or visit www.americandriversalliance.com.

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