David (51) was born with Cerebral Palsy Grade 4 which means he has difficulty controlling his limbs, is unable to walk and has a speech impediment.
The VW Shuttle SE is David’s first drive from wheelchair vehicle and features bespoke controls that include a hand-controlled steering tiller and a toe operated keypad to operate the lights, indicators, etc. The arm which the tiller is attached to is positioned in front of him in the driving position once the steering wheel has been removed. The unique design of the system also allows other people to drive the vehicle, all they have to do is unplug the arm which holds the tiller system and plug the steering wheel back in.
When David is driving the vehicle, his wheelchair locks into position using a Lock ‘n’ Dock system. As part of the conversion, the original driver’s seat has been replaced with a transfer seat which can be easily positioned behind the steering wheel when someone else is driving.
David has had his vehicle since 2015 and is delighted with it as he explained:“The vehicle has been a dream come true. I never thought I would be able to drive but I passed my test in January having only started taking lessons in July. I live with my elderly mum who no longer likes to drive long distances so being able to drive myself means we can get out and about independently thanks to Lewis Reed. I am also a journalist who specialises in motorsport so I can now drive to race meetings myself. Beyond all else I love the sense of freedom that comes with being able to drive”.
When David was assessed by Motability to see whether he could operate a drive from wheelchair vehicle, Martyn Wright from Lewis Reed accompanied the assessor and brought along a Lewis Reed VW Shuttle SE demonstrator. Motability then put together a "package" consisting of the Lewis Reed conversion plus bespoke adaptions made by Jim Doran Hand Controls Ltd. “The vehicle is fantastic and incredibly easy to access thanks to the tail lift entrance while all the bespoke controls are extremely user friendly. The floor buttons have all the functions found on a standard car such as indicators, lights, windscreen wipers as well as gear selection all of which I operate with my toes. It looks great, from the outside you would never know that it was actually a vehicle conversion as opposed to the original VW vehicle. Martyn and the rest of the team at Lewis Reed have been extremely helpful from day one and I would not hesitate in recommending Lewis Reed to anybody looking for a wheelchair accessible or drive from wheelchair vehicle” concluded David.
For more information on the full range of wheelchair accessible vehicles available from Lewis Reed call 0151 343 5360 or visit: www.lewisreedgroup.co.uk Follow Lewis Reed @lewisreedgroup and www.facebook.com/lewisreedwavltd