Living with a disability can make things harder which are seemingly easy for many people. However, disability shouldn’t stop you from living your life to the fullest. With technological improvements in cars, you don’t have to lose out on the freedom of driving even if you are disabled. You can get driving lessons for proper instructions. Read more about the cost to learn driving. In this article, we’ll read about what you should know about driving with a disability.
What Should You Know About Driving with Disability?
Can I Drive with a Disability?
Yes, however, it will also depend on the extent and type of your disability.
Modern cars come with modifications that can be made to conform to the disabled drivers’ needs but you must inform the DVLA of your ailment.
If you are a beginner driver with a disability, you must declare all medical conditions and disabilities on the application form when applying for a provisional license. If you fail to inform the DVLA about your condition, you will be charged a fine of £1000.
If you are a qualified driver who has recently developed a disability or ‘notable’ medical condition, you must also immediately inform the DVLA of the changes in your physical condition. Once the DVLA has all the information, they will decide whether you comply with the medical standards of driving fitness or not. They will also inform you whether you are required to make any modifications to your car or not.
How to learn to Drive with a Disability
If you are unsure about applying for a provisional driving license, you can get assistance from a ‘driving mobility assessment centre. Here, professionals will advise you on whether or not you meet the driving medical standards.
If you get a provisional driving license, you can look for a specially-trained instructor in your area that has a driving car modified for drivers with disabilities. If you need vehicles with more specific modifications, you can consider purchasing your own car. Many driving instructors will provide driving lessons in your own car.
If you have received the higher rate mobility component of DLA (Disability Living Allowance or the increased rate mobility component of PIP (Personal Independence Payments), you can get a driving license from the age of 16. However, the normal age for attaining a driving license is 17.
Is there a different driving test for Disabled People?
Regardless of the severity of your condition/disability, you will have to take the same driving theory and practical test, if you want to get a driving license. However, some considerations can be made depending on your condition for both tests.
When booking your theory or practical driving test, inform the driving test centre, if you need any special provisions. This can include any extra information or extra time to understand the modifications that you may need to make to your car.
You can take the practical test in a vehicle that meets your needs, whether specially modified, manual, or automatic. The driving examiner will record restriction codes, if any, which will appear on your final driving license.
Can I Drive with Mental Illness?
If you are living with some mental health problems that can affect your driving, you must inform the DVLA to allow them to assess your condition. They will decide whether you are fit to drive or you should refrain from driving for some time.
These mental health conditions can include bipolar disorder, psychosis, schizophrenia, paranoid schizophrenia, or psychotic depression. Mental disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, or depression can also impact your ability to drive. This must be informed to the DVLA as well.
Can I Drive with a Learning Disability?
Learning disabilities that affect the way you learn new things can impact your driving ability and skills. The DVLA must be informed of your condition if you don’t want to be charged with a fine of up to £1000.
If you have learning difficulties such as dyspraxia or dyslexia, you are not required to inform the DVLA.
Can I Drive Abroad if I’m Living with Disabilities?
Generally, you should not have a problem driving abroad if you are living with disabilities. However, it is important to research the driving standards of the country you are visiting to keep updated with any requirements that you may need.
If you are driving in France, a disabled badge will enable you to park your car in a designated area often for free even if the parking area is a fee-paying space.
Before travelling abroad, you must ensure that you are adequately covered by your insurance for your stay duration in that country.
Will Living with Disabilities affect my Car Tax?
You can apply for car tax exemption if you get the enhanced rate mobility of PIP or the higher rate mobility component of DLA. The exempt car must be registered under your nominated driver’s name or your name. This car can be used only for your personal purpose and you can register a single car for tax exemption at a particular time.
If you have got the standard rate mobility component of PIP, you can receive a 50% exemption in vehicle tax. However, you can receive a vehicle tax reduction with a lower rate mobility component of DLA.
What other transport options are available for Disabled People?
If you feel comfortable or confident driving a vehicle with a disability or you prefer public transport in your daily life, there are various options in the UK for disabled people.
From free bus travel passes to modified buses with wheelchair facilities, the UK also offers reduced rail fares for people with disabilities.
If you are travelling shorter distances for which public buses are not available, you can opt for an electric bike or mobility scooter to boost your transport options.
What Should You Know About Driving with Disability: Summing Up
Driving with a disability can be challenging without modified or adapted vehicles. You can learn how to drive safely even with a disability. Attend driving schools that are meant for adults with disabilities and purchase a modified car that will help you drive. Stay calm behind the wheel and ensure that your car has the appropriate disability adaptations.