LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Rick Snyder on Wednesday gave final approval to legislation that allows vehicles other than vans to be modified as handicap-accessible and receive a reduced rate on their annual registration.
The Michigan Vehicle Code allows a van owned by an individual who uses a wheelchair, or an individual responsible for transporting a member of their household who uses a wheelchair, to receive a 50 percent discount on their registration.
“When this first began, vans were the only vehicles capable of such modifications, so they were the only vehicle included in the law,” said Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth. “At one of my local office hours, a constituent made me aware that more vehicles can accommodate these changes so I introduced Senate Bill 815 to correct the disparity.”
As vehicle engineering and technology continue to advance, more vehicles, like pickup trucks for example, are capable of being modified to include wheelchair lifts or hand controls to allow someone who is disabled improved mobility. Senate Bill 815 would allow vehicles that have been modified with a permanently installed wheelchair lift or hand controls designed to replace the brake and gas pedals to qualify for the discounted registration.
These modifications are typically quite expensive and can greatly increase not only the cost of a vehicle, but the associated fees as well. Because the tax is based on the weight and type of vehicle, modified vehicles have much higher vehicle registration fees.
Horn says his legislation is about extending assistance to all accessible vehicles as a way to help offset some of the associated costs of the modification.
“The intent of the original law was good,” Horn said. “But times have changed and laws need to keep up. It was a simple fix that will benefit many people in Michigan.”
SB 815 is now Public Act 152 of 2018.