What is the overall goal of the WC19 wheelchair and WTORS standards?
The goal RESNA Volume 4 standards is to provide the wheelchair user with options for equipment comparable in design and performance to the seats and restraint systems available in motor vehicles. The equipment options include wheelchair seats, wheelchairs, wheelchair securement systems, and occupant restraints.
While using these products will likely reduce injury risk, these standards did not try provide a comparable level of injury risk prevention for wheelchair occupants to that of the general population. Injury risk is a function of many biomechanical factors such as body size, body condition, and occupant age. When varying levels of disability are added to these factors, it is most likely that some wheelchair occupants will be at higher risk of injury than a person without a disability.
While widespread use of compliant products would be welcomed, it was not the goal of WC19 to regulate or require the use of WC19-compliant wheelchairs in the real world. While there is little doubt that the use of WC19 wheelchairs, along with WC18-compliant WTORS and recommended transportation procedures, will increase the level of occupant safety and crash protection available to wheelchair users during transit, the decision to purchase and use a standards compliant wheelchair is at the discretion of the wheelchair user and other consumers.