freedom to travel where and when we want to permits freedom to
seek employment, attend social activities and in general become
involved in the main stream of life. The availability of public
transportation that is accessible to persons with a disability
varies greatly from country to country. Only the ability to
drive a vehicle can make unlimited freedom of travel possible.
This is particularly true for the person with a disability.
There have been many advances made in the area of adaptive
driving equipment for persons with disabilities over the past
few years. It is now possible for severely disabled individuals
to operate a motor vehicle without leaving their wheelchair.
Such advances as reduced effort steering systems for persons
with limited strength in their arms and head operated switches
to activate headlight, horn, and other accessory controls for
persons with limited hand function are now readily available.
However, many people do not realise the complexity of the
driving task. It involves more than the physical ability to
operate controls. It requires adequate vision and the mental
skills to process what we see in a manner quick enough to insure
safe, efficient decisions while behind the wheel for the driver,
his or her passengers and other road users.
It is for this reason that it is highly recommended that an
individual with a physical disability, seek the assistance of a
driver rehabilitation specialist. This is an individual who
specialises in the field of driver evaluation and education for
persons with disabilities. This is particularly true for
spinal cord injury. DVLA will require that you only drive
vehicles suitable adapted for your injury. This means that
if prior to injury you were licenced to drive a car you can
drive a suitable adapted car without resitting any test.
This is at odds with America Australia etc where a retest is
The evaluation process usually includes tests of physical
function, visual skills, reaction time, and mental skills in
addition to actual driving performance tests. Based on the
results of these evaluations, the driver rehabilitation
specialist, will determine what if any adaptive driving
equipment you may need, whether you have the potential to drive
independently and whether you require further driver training.
Motability Scheme (UK)
Driving from wheelchair