Thomas Marshall, 24 from Shetland, has regained his driving licence following workplace injuries thanks to the support and guidance of a Driving Mobility centre.
Thomas passed his test aged 17 and enjoyed all the benefits of independent motoring for six years. However, in 2018 he experienced an accident at work which involved falling 20ft off a roof resulting in significant injuries. As a qualified Joiner, Thomas thoroughly enjoyed his job however his fall changed his life and resulted in his driving licence being revoked. He understood that having a traumatic brain injury (TBI) meant his cognitive abilities would have to be assessed to ensure he was safe to drive. Thomas made a good neurological recovery and his other physical injuries healed over time which led him to seek a professional driving assessment to get back behind the wheel.
Thomas discovered the Driving Mobility network online and as his dad lives in Welwyn Garden City, he decided to go to its centre close by – Herts Ability. Each Driving Mobility centre is operated by either an independent charity or an NHS department – all accredited by Driving Mobility to ensure consistent service and standards. Each centre provide clinically led, driving and mobility assessments so disabled individuals of all ages can achieve greater mobility. The 20 centres, with over 70 outreach facilities across England and Wales, ensure service users are signposted towards the most appropriate adapted vehicles, wheelchairs, scooters and accessible transport. Clients can self-refer to a Driving Mobility centre or are directed from the DVLA, Motability, Police and healthcare professionals such as Doctors and Occupational Therapists.
Thomas contacted Driving Mobility and following an initial telephone assessment, an appointment was booked. On arrival, Thomas was introduced to his assigned Occupational Therapist (OT) and Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) who completed a desk-based assessment and a 45-minute session in a specialist car. The experience was positive for Thomas as he explains: “My assessment went really well, especially as I had not driven for a year. It felt really good getting behind the wheel again! I didn’t have any nerves once I had met Jane the OT and Driving Assessor, Mark. They were so friendly, and they went through the process with me, so I knew what to expect. It was really rewarding showing off my driving abilities.”
Thomas completed the assessment and following a review of his performance, the Driving Mobility team approved him for safe driving once more. The conclusions of their report were sent to the DVLA so Thomas subsequently received his driving licence back. This positive outcome had a significant impact on Thomas: “I am a qualified Joiner however my injuries means I’m still unable to work. Not being able to drive has also been problematic as I’ve had to rely on people for lifts all the time. The bus service where I live is unreliable so I have no choice. My relationship with my five-year-old son has been affected as he has not been able to come and stay with me. Now I have got my driving licence back this will make a huge difference to our relationship; I will be able to take him to the park every weekend like we used to do.”
All Driving Mobility clients have different needs. This is why personalised assessments are vital to ensure all drivers receive qualified guidance that specifically matches their individual circumstances – resulting in maximum safety and peace of mind on the road. In conclusion, Thomas fully recommends Driving Mobility services however offers this advice: “If anyone is looking to drive again after injury or diagnosis, I’d say this – just try to be patient, it is frustrating having your independence taken away but it does get easier with time. I applied in April 2019 to get my driving licence back however it took until November 2019 for me to pass the assessment. The main thing I would say is don’t doubt yourself, be confident in your abilities and if you’re not sure of something then ask.”