The WC19 compliant wheelchair is the newest part of transit safety technology. This updated RESNA standard, published in December 2012, describes a wheelchair that can withstand the forces of a crash. This American standard for transit tested wheelchairs is similar to ISO and Canadian standards.
After the wheelchair is secured to the floor of the vehicle, and the wheelchair passenger is belted using safety restraints, the next goal is to seat the passenger in a wheelchair designed to be a seat in a motor vehicle. Many wheelchairs do NOT have suitable points for attaching securement straps. Other wheelchairs do not allow attachment at the correct height on the wheelchair frame. The vehicle driver is left to guess the best location. Still other wheelchair frames are not strong enough to withstand the forces of a sled test crash pulse.
Just because a wheelchair has a "seatbelt" with an automotive or airline style buckle does not mean that this belt is a crash-worthy safety belt. Most postural or positioning belts are NOT strong enough to handle crash forces. Velcro and positioning belts with buckles offer inadequate crash protection under high loads.
If a wheelchair is labeled as WC19 compliant, it means that this wheelchair model is available with a crash-tested frame with designated securement loops for attaching tiedown hooks and a wheelchair anchored safety belt. The wheelchair, when configured with these options, is sled tested with the appropriate size of test dummy as the standard requires. This website has an up-to-date, complete listing of WC19 compliant wheelchairs.
The WC19 standard is intended to ensure that a wheelchair is more easily secured and the occupant is more easily restrained. These features makes it easier to use with the most common transit safety technology systems, including the 4-point wheelchair securement and 3-point occupant restraint.
The following videos demonstrate the contribution of a WC19 wheelchair: