handicap van blog

Is it called a Wheelchair Accessible Van or Handicap Van?

What is it: Handicap Van or Wheelchair Van? In Accessible Vehicles, it is both.

At Braunability we make wheelchair and scooter accessible vehicles serving all sorts of customer needs. Some of our customers use our vehicles to retain their level of mobility as they adapt to aging. Others are younger, having suffered a spinal cord injury or disability from birth.

Something that's common among all of our customers is that no one seems to agree on what to call our vehicles. Are they wheelchair vans? Or are they handicap vans? A wheelchair van makes the product sound as though the vehicle is made of wheelchairs, or that it is only made for wheelchair users, which is incorrect. Wheelchair accessible van may be a more accurate term. Conversely, the word "handicap" is a term that isn't considered by most activist groups to be appropriate as a description of people with disabilities. This is called disability-first speak, and more people are moving toward a person-first language approach, as in, "a person with a disability" versus "a disabled person." 

What terms are more inclusive than "Vans for the Handicapped"?

Some other names for our products include lift vans, mobility vans, and conversion vans. But we've never made a handicapped van. Phrasing it that way implies that the van itself is "less-than" in some way and we avoid using this term when possible. BraunAbility conversions enable our customers to do everything from the ordinary to the extraordinary, just like any other vehicle on the road.

So, what's with all the different titles? Well, many of our customers with disabilities do not like the word "handicapped." The term tends to have negative connotations. Many people believe its derivation is from "cap in hand" used for begging. Snopes.com, however, points out the more likely derivation is from a 17th-century game called "hand in cap," which makes more sense.

Andrew Imparato, President, and CEO of the American Association of Persons with Disabilities (AAPD), one of the country's largest advocacy groups, noted: "There is a strong consensus among the disabled community that 'disabled' should be used."

Our research has indicated that many people who are unfamiliar with our vans or the disability community as a whole use this term when searching for our products on the internet. So in effect, "handicapped" also has a positive power in that it allows people to find our website and see all of the lifts, ramp vans, and other good things we have to offer. When you see this word on our site, we hope you'll understand it is a way of meeting people where they are and we are doing our best to educate groups of people on the correct language to use as they get more acquainted with the disability community. 

Frequently Asked Questions

A handicap van can also go by several other names, including wheelchair accessible vehicle, wheelchair van, conversion van, mobility van and more. Some may also call it a wheelchair lift or wheelchair ramp van. 

Mobility vans can vary greatly in cost depending on several factors, including whether the chassis and the conversion are new or used, the age and condition of the vehicle and the level of technological sophistication of the vehicle and conversion’s equipment. It’s possible to find a used, higher-mileage mobility van for less than $10,000 but a new mobility van will more likely range from $45,000 - $90,000 depending on the above factors. This cost does not include additional equipment like securement systems and driving controls.  

Handicap accessible vans can be sold or traded in at a local mobility dealer. Some individuals may prefer to sell a vehicle online via Facebook marketplace or other automotive resale sites. 

The value of a wheelchair van can be determined much like any other vehicle: age, mileage, history of accidents or major repairs, how well it’s been taken care of by previous owner(s), etc. Much like a traditional vehicle, keeping up with regular maintenance appointments for both the vehicle and the conversion is essential to ensuring the value of the wheelchair van is maintained. 

The process of building a quality wheelchair van is an intense process that requires a reengineering of the original vehicle to accommodate all the necessary features for a wheelchair accessible vehicle. 

BraunAbility dealers sell both new and preowned wheelchair vans on the following models: Chrysler Pacifica, Chrysler Voyager, Toyota Sienna and Honda Odyssey. View all Wheelchair Accessible Vans for Sale at Braunability.

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