Can a paraplegic drive a car?

Flashing your head, accelerating by handHow do disabled people actually drive a car?

VW has been developing special driving aids since 1950 (at that time mainly for disabled people). Today a car can be moved with the little finger - even if it's a Porsche.

Driving aids ensure that even paraplegics can drive a car. For this, however, extensive modifications are necessary depending on the handicap, which can be perfectly adapted to the respective needs.

It starts with the entry. A lift for a wheelchair can be built into large cars. In this case, the driver's seat is built on rails so that the wheelchair in the rear can be reached. In smaller cars, only swivel and swivel seats can be installed, which in turn save space.

Other systems allow you to accelerate and brake manually, and steering is assisted where the power is lacking. Switches for indicators, horn and windshield wipers can even be integrated into the headrest. Because they can often be operated faster and more safely with the head than by hand.

Depending on the time and effort involved, a conversion carried out by specialized companies like Kadomo can cost 60,000 euros. Spacious cars such as the VW Transporter are particularly suitable because of their space. Models such as the VW Golf Plus and Passat are popular (and less expensive). But sports cars like a Porsche have also been converted.

Almost all major car manufacturers now offer handicap vehicles ex works. VW, Audi and Mercedes are among the pioneers. More specific solutions are also being developed by smaller retrofitters.

Who pays for the costs?

According to the Motor Vehicle Assistance Ordinance (Kfz-HV), a working person with a handicap has the right to mobility. In order to receive grants for renovations or new purchases, an employment relationship must exist that is subject to social security contributions. Anyone who has had less than 15 professional years should contact the employment agency. Above this limit, the pension insurance is the right contact. Regardless of an employment relationship, the vehicle tax exemption can be used up to 100 percent depending on the type of disability.

The amount of the co-payment depends on the income. However, if the apartment is only seven kilometers or less away from the workplace, a car service is considered cheaper. The Federation of Disabled Car Owners (BbAB) offers help with these questions.