Change needed in QLD?


Queensland disability interest group calling for wheelchair immobilisers on buses

Queensland's transport department is under pressure to review its rules after a woman in an electric wheelchair was thrown from a moving bus in Toowoomba.

The 72-year-old's wheelchair skidded across the aisle into the door as the bus negotiated a roundabout in March this year.

She landed on her head after the door opened and spent almost two months in hospital.

Disability support group Queensland Advocacy director Michelle O'Flynn says similar occurrences are likely unless action is taken and the incident highlights the need for compulsory restraints on all buses and should be written into law.

"All wheelchairs and scooters should be anchored to the floor and wall," she says.

"Maxi [taxi] drivers cannot just allow someone to use their wheelchair to get into the back.

"They have to have them secured and so should bus drivers.

"Public transport should be accessible to all, but it must be safe."

O'Flynn says Queensland and the rest of Australia should follow the United States, where restraints are compulsory for wheelchairs and mobility scooters and wants the state transport department to review the rules as a matter of urgency.

Restraints for mobility devices are not currently required under federal legislation and may come at significant cost to bus operators unless the Federal Government funded it or at least heavily subsidised it.

Bus drivers are required to consider the needs of all passengers and drive with due care and attention.

Transport and road safety minister Mark Bailey is yet to comment, but says the matter will be investigated.

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