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Using a Customized Car

Using a Customized Car
You can drive in spite of your locomotor impairment!
by Rajni Garg

Rajni Garg 100x100.jpg

In today’s life, which is full of hustle and bustle where even a second counts, importance of personal mode of transport need not be exaggerated. This is all the more important for a person having any sort of disability because of his or her physical constraints due to which it is very much difficult to use public transport. This means of transport can be a two-wheeler or it can be a car. Four-wheeler is of course better than two-wheeler as it is not only safer but also saves one from the vagaries of weather.

Being myself physically disabled (both legs affected by polio) I can very much empathize with the needs of such persons. For more than 10 years I drove a two-wheeler with extra alignments but this year I decided to buy a car. Initial inhibitions or apprehensions were of course very much there. Anyhow I ultimately decided to give it a go and purchased a Hyundai i10 and now I am able to drive it quite confidently. But before I took the decision several questions like which car to buy and from where to get it modified arose in my mind, which only led to confusion. Keeping in view that others in the same situation may also face this confusion I am hereby trying to provide a guide for the same.

Choice of Car

When we take the decision to go for a LMV 4 wheeler the first question that arises is which car to go for. Choice of car depends upon the extent of disability. If it is possible to operate partially by leg then one can go for any car (ideally small segment). But if it has to be 100% hand driven then it is advisable to go for one with automatic transmission of gears as it may be very difficult to manage all three namely, accelerator, brakes and gears with one hand and steering with the other. In my case I needed a 100% hand driven car so I went for i10 with automatic transmission (AT). Normally i10 costs approx.4 lacs but the one with AT costs more by 50000 approx. When I purchased it, its cost was 4.54 lacs.

Modification of the Car

After buying car the next issue is to get it modified so as to make it hand driven. It can easily be done but of course by any expert mechanic. It costs somewhere between 4000 to 6000 depending upon the modifications to be done i.e. only brakes/accelerator/ gears or any two of these etc. Which is again dependent upon the type of car (with AT or without AT) and the extent of disability. In case of my car two modifications (brakes and accelerator) were required.

Regarding issuance of license

In case of modified vehicles RTO issues license, which entitles the holder to drive “invalid carriage” type of vehicles. Invalid carriage means any vehicle, which has been modified i.e. it has been altered for the purpose of driving. The same license entitles the holder to drive two-wheeler as well as four wheeler vehicles.

One thing more I would like to add here is that the vehicles purchased by any disabled person which have been modified to be driven by such person, are exempted from VAT. While purchasing car, the buyer has to pay whole price but on submission of the required documents within the stipulated period the amount of VAT is refunded to buyer.

At the time of registration, such vehicles are exempted from payment of road tax too.

The author writes regularly for CTH. She may be contacted at contact@crossthehurdles.com