|Mobile Dental Systems
||Van Structural Considerations
b. How big should the vehicle be?
There are three basic size considerations:
- Minimum space to provide treatment
- Ergonomic considerations so people will feel comfortable and want to work in the space
- Terrain where the vehicle will need to travel.
Although a one-chair program may, in certain instances, be better than no program at all, there is much evidence that single-chair operations are very inefficient and uncomfortable. For the purposes of this manual, a minimum of two chairs is recommended.
|In a self-propelled vehicle, a two-chair program requires a treatment area of a minimum of 18 feet, plus a cab area of at least 7 feet--generally a total of around 30 feet.
Size will be limited by state, local and federal regulations. Generally a vehicle that is 40 feet long and 102 inches wide is accepted in most areas. In New York City, a length limitation of 36 feet and 96 inches wide is in place. Do not depend on the vehicle manufacturer to be aware of every state or local limitation. Contact your local motor vehicle department for specific requirements. Very mountainous and rural areas with unimproved roads may require a smaller vehicle for maneuverability. For example, a shorter length will decrease the rear overhang past the rear axle and the swing around sharp corners. Ask local school bus garages and trucking companies for their advice on this matter.
There is a balance of considerations-- the larger the turning radius,
the less the maneuverability. Inches make a difference!