With funding from the Government, the charity Driving Mobility is introducing new training for staff at mobility scooter and powered wheelchair showrooms so more customers buy products that they can drive safely.
This new voluntary scheme is being launched in June as the number of scooters and powerchairs is on the rise. With more products being driven on the road and pavement, retailers need to make sure they are matching vehicles with customer capabilities and advising on the Highway Code. The new ‘PWMS Retailer Training Scheme’ will offer, for the first time, a consistent and approved way of providing mobility scooters or powerchairs.
Once trained, suppliers will be officially accredited by The Department for Transport and Driving Mobility – the national charity which is running the scheme. Consumers will then be able to pick retailers that display these credentials which will provide confidence and peace of mind.
Up until now there has never been a standardised way to assess the needs of mobility scooter and powerchair customers or provide safe driving guidance. In addition, there continues to be several grey areas of understanding when it comes to the law regarding mobility vehicle use on the highway. Safe driver training has also been inconsistent across the UK whereas if retailers sign up to the new scheme, they will be able to apply expertise from Driving Mobility’s Occupational Therapists.
Driving Mobility Centres work with the DVLA, Motability, NHS and the Police to offer ‘fitness to drive’, equipment and accessible travel assessments for people with restricted mobility. Qualified healthcare professionals at several centres will be providing the PWMS training so retail staff can benefit from a better understanding of customer medical conditions and capabilities now and in the future. With this knowledge the scheme aims to ensure that the right vehicle is supplied to the right person, so competent and considerate driving is possible. Add to this the latest, easy to remember road safety advice, drivers should benefit from a more positive ownership experience whilst protecting other highway users.
Edward Trewhella, CEO at Driving Mobility concludes by saying: “Alongside the Department for Transport, we are aware that the way people are travelling is changing especially with increased ownership of mobility scooters and powered wheelchairs. In response we completed a successful pilot last year which underlined the need for a retailer training scheme. Our launch is timely and promises to enhance road safety for all through more suitable mobility vehicle provision and greater awareness of the Highway Code.”
Roads and Accessibility Minister Richard Holden said: “It’s really important that we improve road safety for everyone, including owners of powered wheelchairs and mobility scooters. This scheme, supported by Government, will help to ensure that people with restricted mobility can get around independently and confidently by training users, and I’m pleased to support it through our funding.”
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