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Reassessing your driving ability

If you have developed a medical condition, you may need to have your driving ability assessed. Or you may not have a medical condition, but have decided yourself that you could benefit from an assessment.

If your medical condition or disability makes it more difficult to drive, there may still be a way to help you to continue driving, for example, with the aid of suitable vehicle adaptations.

A Mobility Centre can advise you on the best options for your particular circumstances and the DVLA can refer you (and pay for the assessment), but there may be a long wait.

It can be quicker to refer yourself but you will have to pay – the cost varies depending on the centre.

If the assessment shows that your medical condition makes it unsafe for you to drive, the DVLA can tell you to stop driving until your condition improves.

In this case, you’ll need to reapply for your licence if, and when, you’re able to drive safely again. The DVLA will provide you with a medical explanation and, if possible, state when you should reapply. Talk to your GP before reapplying for your licence.

What happens at a Mobility Centre assessment?

At your assessment, the Mobility Centre staff will ask what issues and concerns you, your doctor or family members have. They’ll then assess your driving ability and/or potential car adaptations.

Remember, the driving assessors are not trying to catch you out – if it’s at all possible, they’ll find a way to help you to continue driving.

The driving ability assessment will include:

  • a physical assessment to see if you can move your arms and legs easily and operate the pedals and other controls
  • a cognitive assessment to test your reactions
  • a visual assessment to check your eyesight.

The assessor will also look at your posture and strength at the wheel, and decide whether there are any adaptations that could help you get in and out of your car and drive more easily and safely.

After the assessment, the instructor will recap on everything and help you to plan any changes. The car adaptations assessment gives you a chance to try out different types of adaptations to see how they suit you.

These adaptations will vary depending on your needs, but they can include:

  • hand controls to use instead of foot pedals
  • switches to press instead of the secondary controls, such as windscreen wipers
  • pedal extensions.

Further information

For more information: Call Age NI Advice: 0808 808 7575

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