Senate Committee Advances Bill Requiring Wheelchair Passengers To Be Properly Secured In Vehicles

TRENTON – The Senate Transportation Committee today advanced a bill to require wheelchairs to be properly secured in vehicles by a four-point restraint system.

“It is a law for the protection of motorists and their passengers to be buckled up during their travels and it is absolutely essential for passengers in wheelchairs to be properly belted in,” said state Sen. Kevin O’Toole (R-Bergen/ Essex/ Morris/ Passaic), a sponsor of the legislation.

The motivation for the bill is the tragic case of Hanson Kim Tun Chan, 86, of Fort Lee, who died after suffering a broken neck during a 2008 ambulance ride to a physical therapy appointment. Current state law does not require patients be secured during transport in an ambulance.

The bipartisan legislation (S-715) requires private entities engaged in the business of transporting passengers in wheelchairs to secure wheelchairs and passengers in wheelchairs using a four-point system. A similar version of this bill unanimously passed the Senate last session but died in the Assembly. This session’s version has been unanimously passed by the Assembly.

“I am confident my legislative colleagues share my interest in protecting the safety of vulnerable New Jerseyans to the point they will not let this common-sense measure to languish, risking another tragedy like the one unnecessarily endured by Hanson Kim Tun Chan,” O’Toole concluded.

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