A new product in town is designed to help drivers and passengers of wheelchair-accessible vehicles by eliminating blue-stripe parking violators on handicap parking spots. The product is called ParkSmart™, a new, patent-pending feature that will be found on EVERY new, VMI handicap, wheelchair-accessible vehicle beginning in 2021.
However, before I get into the nuts & bolts of the system and how it works, for all who may not know (The blue stripes next to a handicapped parking spot that is designed for parking a wheelchair van are there to alert other drivers NOT to park to close to their vehicle. The stripes are designed to mark off the appropriate distance from the handicap-accessible vehicle where the driver can deploy their wheelchair ramp to safely exit and enter their vehicle).
Now that I’m done with that, let’s get into how the system works. It’s quite cool! First, the driver of the wheelchair-accessible vehicle parks his or her vehicle in the spot designated for handicap van parking. Next, upon exit of his/her vehicle, the user pushes a button on the dash to engage the new ParkSmart™ feature from VMI. (The system engages in a delay to allow the user to exit the vehicle). The wheelchair user then exits the vehicle and goes on about his/her business. The system is now engaged and active within 30 seconds. In all, the sensor works just like those on the rear bumper of a vehicle backup system, deploying a short-distance radar of sorts. Now, if a driver of another vehicle or a motorcycle user decides to park within the blue stripes or to close next to the VMI wheelchair-accessible vehicle, an audible alert will sound as the driver is getting out of their vehicle. The audible alert is then followed by a recorded message, further alerting the driver they have parked their vehicle illegally or too close to the wheelchair user’s vehicle and it asks politely to move their vehicle. The message will repeat itself as needed to ensure the user hears the message if there is a delay in them exiting their vehicle.
There you have it! The industry’s first passive parking alert system was designed to assist wheelchair users in stopping the ever-so-frustrating handicap parking violator. In my opinion, this is going to be a game-changer! I applaud Vantage Mobility International (VMI) for developing such a nice feature that can only help our users of wheelchair-accessible vehicles by eliminating one of the biggest headaches they encounter in their travels, handicap parking violators. Thank you, VMI!