Diabetes & Driving Disabilities & Driving Vision & Driving
Dementia & Driving Snoring & Driving Old Age & Driving
Heart Diseases & Driving Epilepsy & Driving Driver Checkup

Disabilities and Driving

Most people with disabilities can get a driver license, and most people who have a driver license and subsequently acquire a disability can continue to drive. Vehicle technology such as power steering and automatic transmission offers many more opportunities for people with disabilities to drive. Virtually any standard production vehicle can be modified for a person with a disability.

  What are temporary disabilities?

Disabilities such as broken arms or legs, migraine etc., may not stop a person from driving but in all cases will require them to make a decision as to their safety and the safety of other road users.
Plaster casts may cause discomfort and can cause difficulties in controlling the vehicle. The person will need to be guided by their doctor as to how the plaster cast will affect their ability to operate all vehicle controls.

 What are progressive disabilities?
  Multiple sclerosis, arthritis, Parkinson's disease, loss of hearing or vision and ageing may subject a person's body to changes that interfere with their ability to drive safely.
It is important that people know of the effect these conditions may have on a person's ability to control a vehicle safely. It is not safe to assume that a person's driving will be unaffected. Someone with a progressive disability may need to adjust their driving as changes occur.
If a person takes medication, or if any medication changes, care will be needed to ensure that their driving is not affected. Medical guidance should be obtained.

   What about an Amputees?
  A person who has undergone an amputation will need to consult with their doctor, who may:
Issue a doctor's certificate that states the person should be restricted to an automatic vehicle and/or the vehicle should be fitted with special mechanical devices;
Refer them to a driving assessment service.
There is usually no difficulty in adapting an artificial limb to a vehicle or a vehicle to a limb. For more information contact a driving assessment service.

 Can a deaf person drive?
  There is no reason why a deaf person cannot drive a private motorcar. However, the possibility of additional rear vision mirrors may need to be considered

 What are the factors affecting driving ability?
  The following is a list of skills that every driver should have to ensure they can safely operate a vehicle:
good vision in front and out of the corners of the eyes;
quick reactions and reflexes (to be able to brake or turn to avoid crashes);
good co-ordination between eyes, hands and legs;
ability to make decisions quickly;
ability to make judgments about what is happening on the road.

  How a head injury can effect driving?

A head injury may affect people in different ways. Listed below are some of the consequences of a head injury which could affect someone's driving. It is important to remember that certain medications can affect co-ordination and reaction times while driving.
Altered vision
Missing signs or traffic hazards on one side;
Misjudging distance and speed.
Altered thinking patterns
Thinking may be slowed and it may be difficult to make decisions at busy intersections;
Trouble coping with too much sensory information at once;
Loss of concentration resulting in a decrease in driving skills;
Short term memory loss.

Physical challenges
Reaction time may be slowed;
Trouble co-ordinating hand and feet movements;
Ability to steer may be reduced due to muscle weakness;
Problems using foot pedals.
Following some head injuries, driving may not be permitted for up to two years or longer. A neurologist's advice must be sought before someone may start to drive again following a severe injury.

 After a person has suffered a head injury how to ensure a return to safe driving?
  Medical assessment :
The first step is to consult a doctor who can determine if the person is fit enough to drive. The doctor may recommend an additional assessment with an occupational therapist.
An assessment with an occupational therapist can :
Give someone advice about license issues following an injury or crash;
Look at how any physical or cognitive changes might affect driving abilities;
Ensure the person is likely to satisfy driving standards;
Determine if lessons are required to improve confidence or to become a better driver;
Help a learner driver develop the skills needed for driving.
Questions to ask before seeing an occupational therapist:
What does the assessment involve?
Who will be assessing me?
What do I need to take with me?
When will the results be given?
2. Before someone can start driving:
Ensure you have obtained a written medical clearance to drive from a doctor or specialist;
Ensure you have contacted the insurance company to ensure the vehicle insurance is valid;
Avoid drinking and driving;
Check that medications will not affect driving;
Keep in mind that fatigue can reduce concentration.