adapted car Archives - Driving Mobility

Teenage quadruple amputee Izzy aims for driving independence thanks to Driving Mobility

Izzy, aged 16 and quadruple amputee, has just received her brand-new adapted car and started specialist driving lessons thanks to the Derby-based Driving Mobility centre.

Izzy, aged 16 and quadruple amputee, has just received her brand-new adapted car and started specialist driving lessons thanks to the Derby-based Driving Mobility centre.

Driving Mobility accredits 20 independent driving assessments centres across the UK, with over 70 outreach facilities, which provide clinically-led driving and mobility assessments. Service users self-refer or are signposted from the DVLA, Motability, Police and healthcare professionals such as GPs and Occupational Therapists (OT). Each Driving Mobility Centre, such as the NHS facility at Kingway Hospital Derby (Derby DrivAbility), provide guidance and support to individuals with restricted mobility. A large number of young disabled people use these services when aiming to drive for the first time such as Izzy.

Izzy contracted meningococcal septicaemia aged 7 which resulted in life-saving amputations. As a young teenager Izzy was keen to learn to drive however, she knew adapted controls would be needed. Izzy was referred to the Driving Mobility Centre by her OT who was based at the City Hospital in Nottingham. Being able to drive was simply another challenge Izzy would take on without hesitation thanks to her determined attitude.

Following an initial telephone consultation, Izzy visited the Derby-based Driving Mobility Centre to meet an OT and ADI (Approved Driving Instructor). To help ascertain the right vehicle for her needs, Izzy was paired up with another service user, Angela Yates, who also was a quadruple amputee. Angela has previously achieved driving independence through the support of the Centre and so discussed the type of car and adapted controls that worked for her. This gave Izzy confidence that she could achieve her goal, not that extra confidence was really required thanks to her positive personality.

A driving assessment was arranged so that Izzy could try a vehicle with suitably adapted controls.  Accompanied by an ADI and OT, she drove using a radial accelerator, push away brake, steering wheel cup, lightened power steering and a bleeper control system for secondary controls including indicators and horn. Izzy was able to confidently use these adaptations quickly and drove for five miles comfortably – the team were delighted with her ability and approach. However, the Driving Mobility team advised that further bespoke adaptions would be necessary for Izzy if she was to use a car fulltime. She was signposted to the vehicle adaptations specialists Des Gosling Mobility who had previously adapted Angela’s car. This established supplier assessed Izzy’s needs and agreed to provide a solution when she had selected a car.

Izzy decided to lease a new car through the Motability scheme however due to the Covid-19 outbreak she experienced a delay. However, in early July 2020, her new car was delivered to Des Gosling and the new controls were fitted. Izzy has now approved all the adaptations and has just begun driving lessons.

All the Derby Driving Mobility team expect Izzy to reach her goal of being able to drive without any issue. If it had not been for the coronavirus crisis, she might have achieved this before her 17th birthday as she was able to get her licence a year earlier because of her disability. Everyone at Driving Mobility wishes Izzy the best of luck.


East Anglian DriveAbility ensures new driving future for James following severe spinal injuries

East Anglian DriveAbility has enabled new driving possibilities for James Kipling from Kings Lynn

East Anglian DriveAbility (EAD), one of Driving Mobility’s UK assessment centres, has enabled new driving possibilities for James Kipling from Kings Lynn, after a motorbike accident resulted in traumatic injuries to his spine.

Driving Mobility accredits twenty independent organisations which offer professional support and driving assessments to people who need to gain, or retain, the ability to drive following a diagnosis involving impairment or disability. EAD is part of this network with centres in Thetford and Colchester. In addition to driving assessments, its Occupational Therapists and Driving Advisors provide several additional services including guidance regarding specialist paediatric car seats and mobility scooters.

Following James’ motorbike accident two years ago, metal implants were inserted into his back to support his damaged spine. Now a wheelchair user and unable to walk, James began to investigate how he could learn to drive a vehicle for the first time. His GP advised that Driving Mobility provides specialist driving assessments with professional advice regarding suitable adaptations. Following a self-referral, James visited his local centre, EAD, in 2018.

James, age 24, comments: “I felt quite nervous when I arrived at EAD but I was very impressed from the start. The Centre staff ran through my medical records and assessed my physical and cognitive abilities and then asked me to try a Static Assessment Rig. This is a driving simulator that can be fitted with different adaptations to match individual requirements. I was able to operate the accelerator and brake from the steering wheel, which gave me a good idea of how I could drive a car whist in a safe, controlled environment.”

EAD’s Static Assessment Rig provides information on reaction speeds, vision, steering ability and braking strength. As James successfully completed this part of the assessment, EAD felt confident he was ready to proceed to driving a dual-controlled vehicle accompanied by a Centre Driving Advisor.

James comments: “The Driving Assessment was amazing! The same adaptations were fitted to the vehicle and because I had already practised with them on the driving simulator, I picked it up straight away. The whole experience was made straightforward and easy for me.”

Following his assessment, Driving Mobility provided James with a comprehensive written report which he took to his GP for medical approval to drive. The DVLA were updated and James subsequently passed his theory test. He is now applying for a Motability vehicle which will be fitted with the recommended driving controls and is looking forward to applying for his driving test.

James concludes: “I would prefer to use my own adapted car for driving lessons, so that I get plenty of practice with the adaptations best suited to me. I already have a transfer board to assist me with getting from my wheelchair into a car and I plan to use the centre ring accelerator and a side handbrake that I trialled at EAD. I’m really feeling confident and positive about future driving and I’m very grateful to the EAD team for helping me get to this point.”