hand controls

hand controls

the need

Individuals with paraplegia desire to operate manual transmission vehicles for a variety of reasons. People enjoy driving manual transmission vehicles to experience the challenge and thrill of driving a sports car and to exercise better control over engine power output. In addition, manual transmission vehicles are typically more economical to purchase and operate than vehicles with automatic transmissions, power brakes and power steering.

But how can a person with limited or no lower body function operate 3 foot pedals in addition to a steering wheel and gearshift?

driving by hands

manual transmission hand controls

manual transmission hand controls

the solution

To create a set of hand controls that could be operated with one hand and fitted to an automobile with manual transmission, brakes, and steering, a motorcycle throttle was added to a set of existing automatic transmission hand controls.

The motorcycle throttle is mounted to the left of the steering wheel. A forward push towards the floor applies the brakes, a downward turn signal movement engages the clutch, and a forward twist depresses the accelerator.

To change gears, the driver holds the steering wheel in position with the thumb of the left hand while shifting with the right. When stopped on a hill, the driver can let out the clutch, apply gas, and release the brakes simultaneously with one hand. A driver using these controls must have good coordination, dexterity, and strong muscles with precise control.

The system is connected to the clutch, brake, and accelerator floor pedals with mechanical linkages. Since the hand controls are only hooked to the floor pedals, and do not replace them, non-disabled drivers can operate the same vehicle using their feet on the pedals.


This work was sponsored by Beneficial Designs, Inc.


Based on the early work by Beneficial Designs, a group of students created a custom set of hand controls and disclosed their work in the following report:

Brandley Dallan; Breigenzer, Kurt & Siers, Dennis. “Adaptive Driving Controls for Standard Transmission Vehicle.” Montana State University, 1990.

obtaining hand controls

We do not have any hand controls that are available for purchase; however, we do have information on the prototype that includes detailed drawings. In order to obtain the designs, please download and fill out the following PDF form.

After filling out and re-saving the PDF form above, please attach it to the message below at the bottom of the text boxes by clicking “Choose File.” After you have entered your contact information and message, please push “send.” We will get back to you as soon as possible. Thank you!