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Mobility Center Offers Aid to Disabled Drivers

Plenty of options but the cost can be high.

by on Jan.17, 2012

Steve Armstrong, co-founder of GoShichi, rolls into one of the company's modified Chevy Silverado pickups.

At first glance, the MV-1 looks like an oversized version of the Checker cabs that once were commonplace on urban streets.  But the vehicle, designed and built by Florida’s Vehicle Production Group has a very different passenger in mind.

The MV-1 is the first vehicle specifically developed for the disabled.  That might seem like a small niche but, in fact, there are millions of Americans who cannot get into, never mind operate, a conventional automobile without assistance.

The good news is that the MV-1 is part of a growing movement to help the handicapped improve their mobility.  The problem is that the alternatives can be extremely costly at a time when there are fewer sources of help – especially from cash-strapped local, state and federal government agencies.

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According to federal data, there are 54 million Americans with some form of disability.  Of those, 14 million require some assistance to remain mobile, while 4 million are confined to a wheelchair or similar device.

That includes Steve Kitchen who was left a quadriplegic when the car he was riding in had a severe collision in 1999.  He has since been severely restricted in his mobility, moving around only with the help of an electric wheelchair.