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A wheelchair lift, also known as a platform lift, is a powered device designed to raise a wheelchair and its occupant in order to overcome a step or similar vertical barrier. While some wheelchair accessible vans use a powered lift to assist the occupant in boarding, a wheelchair ramp is usually less expensive for this purpose.

A number of legal regimes in various countries regulate the use of wheelchair lifts, setting forth standards for the devices and requiring certain kinds of businesses to make parking lots accessible to vehicles bearing the devices. In some instances, accessibility standards have been achieved in legal settlements. For example, in the 2005 case of Dilworth, et al. v. City of Detroitmarker, NO. 2:04- cv-73152 (E.D. Mich. 2005), the defendant city conceded that the Americans With Disabilities Act and its supporting legislation required the city "to maintain the wheelchair lifts on its buses in operative condition; promptly repair wheelchair lifts if they are damaged or out of order; establish a system of regular and frequent maintenance checks of wheelchair lifts; remove a vehicle from service if the lift is inoperative (with limited exceptions); provide alternative transportation when the lift doesn't work and the next accessible bus is more than 30 minutes away."

Recent innovations have allowed for the development of wheelchair lifts which assist people in entering truck cabs, so that they may drive or operate heavy equipment.


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