Project: Improving Driver Steering Controls

Reference: UG456

Last update: 10/10/2005 10:35:56


The aim of this project is to identify vehicles in common use by disabled drivers; to use a series of test circuits on the MIRA track both with the vehicle in its unmodified form and when it is modified with steering adaptions for a disabled driver.

The objective is to inform the Department of the effects that steering adaptions have on the handling characterisitics of standard production vehicles, and to be able to use this information in standards-work in Europe for steering adaptions for disabbled drivers' use.


The project will produce a report comparing the steering charactoristics of vehicles with steering systems adapted for use by a disabled driver with the steering characteristics of standard production vehicles which have no adaptions.


Watling Street, Nuneaton, Warwickshire, CV10 0TU
+44 (0)2476 355000

Contract details

Cost to the Department: £326,464.00

Actual start date: 29 January 2003

Actual completion date: 31 March 2005


The Effects of Steering Adaptations on Vehicle Control
Author: MIRA
Publication date: 04/01/2005
Source: DfT Website
More information:

Investigation into Potential Musculo-skeletal Damage resulting from Prolinged use of disabled Vehicle Control Adaptations
Author: MIRA
Publication date: 04/10/2005
Source: Dft Website
More information:

Summary of results

  1. Two reports have been produced, both very relevant to the adaptation industry, driver assessment organisations, both in the UK and within Europe. The steering report highlighted human factors issues for various methods of steering which should be considered when recommending adaptations for disabled drivers. However, the main issue was relating to the training needs of drivers using complex steering adaptations. The Thalidomide report showed that most drivers with the Thalidomide condition have been driving with minimal adaptation resulting in extensive musculo-skeletal damage. However, the damage tends to be due to the secondary aspects of driving, such as gear selection, opening doors, turning ignition keys, rather than with the main primary controls of braking and acceleration. Steering is also a big issue and so the two reports work well together. Results are credible as the whole Thalidomide driver population was approached for involvement in the study.