Badan Latihan dan Hidup Berdikari Malaysia (ILTC) pada 23hb Mac 2016 menyerahkan memorandum kepada ahli-ahli parlimen mendesak supaya golongan orang kurang upaya (OKU) dikecualikan daripada cukai barangan dan perkhidmatan (GST).

Disabled Members Protest

Disabled Members Protest
Disabled Members Protest at JPJ Wangsa Maju

ILTC Malaysia members staged a protest outside JPJ Wangsamaju KL.

ILTC Malaysia members staged a protest outside JPJ Wangsamaju KL.
Disabled group’s protest disabled drivers required to produce doc's medical report.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Helping disabled drivers in a breakdown

Thursday September 22, 2011

Helping disabled drivers in a breakdown

Suggestions for vehicle breakdown services on handling emergencies involving disabled drivers.

A FORTNIGHT ago I wrote about a horrible encounter I had at a hypermarket in Shah Alam.

Despite the store being equipped with disabled-friendly car parks and toilets, the experience was still a nightmare.

As a wheelchair user I found much to my chagrin that I was not able to use the facilities.

This was because the management had failed to ensure that the handicapped-friendly facilities in their premises were not abused by non-disabled shoppers.

The car parks were all taken up by non-disabled drivers and I had to wait for a young able-bodied man to finish up before I could use the loo for the disabled.

And even when my car battery suddenly went flat, I was not able to get the help that I so desperately needed, even though I was in the company of scores of shoppers around me.

It was a wake-up call for me to not take things for granted in future.

Just because I happened to be in a disabled-friendly building didn’t necessarily mean that the people there would be as friendly or helpful to a disabled person.

It ought to have happened that way of course, but sadly it didn’t.

And the way I see it, the problem was clearly with the management.

If they had provided the proper training for their front desk staff, the situation would have been different.

Even the rescue team from the Automobile Association of Malaysia (AAM), of which I am a member, treated my SOS call as a normal routine alert when I rang them up.

When I told them I was a disabled driver, it made no difference to them. They just told me what they would say to anyone: “We’ll get to you in about 45 minutes.”

They only arrived about an hour and a half later, blaming the delay on heavy traffic. It was a disappointment that they made no follow-up calls to me during the waiting period to inform me of the delay.

Looking back on what happened, here are some suggestions to AAM and other vehicle breakdown services on how they can be more professional and helpful when it comes to handicapped drivers who are left stranded:

1. Check whether the driver is safe.

Instead of giving handicapped drivers the standard “45-minute” waiting time, find out first if they are safe. A handicapped driver could be stuck in the middle of the highway against speeding traffic. Are they alone or do they have someone who could help them?

In emergencies where one’s vehicle has stalled in the middle of the road or even on the fast lane, rescue services should link up with the traffic police to intervene.

Remember, a person in a wheelchair can’t get out of the car and even call for help from other drivers.

2. Find out more about the drivers’ disabilities.

Are they totally unable to walk? Or do they have walking difficulties? Do they use crutches, walking sticks, etc, for mobility? Do they have a wheelchair in the car or in the back seat? Can they get out of the car by themselves? Can they take out their wheelchair by themselves?

It is also helpful to ask if they are on any medication, suffer from asthma, etc, as all this can be triggered when one is in a panicked situation.

In such situations, personnel manning the call centre should have some knowledge about disabilities so that they can deal with handicapped callers more effectively.

Please note that for the able-bodied, they can just get out of their car and get to a safe place. People with disabilities often don’t have such options.

3. Speak calmly and confidently to the driver.

This will make them less nervous. Try to understand the great vulnerability that the disabled driver would be feeling at that time, especially if they are alone. They could also be sitting ducks for robbers who might take advantage of their situation.

In my case, AAM could have called the hypermarket’s customer service and informed them about where I am so that they could come to my aid.

4. Keep up the communication.

All rescue services should not merely inform that help is on the way but also keep in constant contact with the handicapped caller in distress to help him or her remain calm until service arrives.

This would be professionalism at its best.

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