Our report, Drive: the road to independence, focuses on the issues young disabled people face when learning to drive and getting a car.
Learning to drive is an important milestone in many young people’s lives. For young disabled people especially, having a car means a great deal. Whether as drivers themselves or passengers in their own wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs), young people find having a car gives them greater independence and freedom from inaccessible streets and public transport.
Over the years, some Trailblazers have told us they’d like to know more about learning to drive when you have a muscle-wasting condition. Although the report is not intended as a comprehensive guide, we hope it provides useful information for young disabled people thinking of learning to drive or getting their own adapted vehicle.
Our report revealed:
- Over 30 percent of survey respondents said it had been difficult to find a specialist driving instructor with experience and knowledge of teaching disabled drivers and using car adaptations.
- Nearly half said there were not enough specialist driving instructors and there was a need for more training for driving instructors.
- The lack of specialist driving instructors in local areas meant some respondents were forced to pay more by instructors who had to travel into their area to teach them, to cover the extra travel time and fuel costs.
- Forty percent said they didn’t know that people who received the higher mobility component of Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment could learn to drive at 16, instead of the usual age limit of 17.
My car is a lifesaver as I live in the middle of nowhere with very limited accessible public transport! So without a car I would be at risk of becoming isolated!
Trailblazers are calling for:
- a basic mandatory disability awareness course for approved driving instructors (ADIs)
- a register of specialist driving instructors
- an accreditation scheme underpinning training for specialist ADIs
- all petrol stations to include an alert system for disabled drivers to use
- all petrol stations to be wheelchair accessible.
You can read the most recent report into driving and getting a vehicle here. Trailblazers continues to campaign on improving access to motoring. If you are affected by these issues and would like to share your experiences or be a media ambassador, contact us here.