DriveAbility Scotland Archives - Driving Mobility

Ayrshire’s Sarah with MS ‘back being Mum’ thanks 
to DriveAbility Scotland

Sarah Sullivan, 34 from Kilmarnock, has been able to continue driving with multiple sclerosis thanks to expert guidance from Glasgow’s DriveAbility Scotland.

Sarah Sullivan, 34 from Kilmarnock, has been able to continue driving with multiple sclerosis thanks to expert guidance from Glasgow’s DriveAbility Scotland.

Sarah, Mum of 10-year-old Charlotte, came to accept in the summer of 2022 that she was struggling to drive safely. Diagnosed with MS in 2014, her progressive condition meant she was experiencing mobility difficulties and reduced sensation in her feet – so operating a brake and accelerator pedal was becoming a challenge. 

Sarah already owned a standard automatic car; however, the driving controls no longer met her needs as she explains: “I had started to avoid driving as my MS was getting worse. I still hoped for a while that the symptoms would go away, but they didn’t, so I knew I had to do something to get back on the road. I was staying at home more and more. At one point I’d been in the house all week and I thought this is ridiculous, I can’t go on like this, I must do something to try and get driving again.”

Sarah’s predicament was impacting on many aspects of family life. The main problem was not being able to give Charlotte lifts to school, friends, and her performing arts club. Sarah’s shopping trips and regular hospital appointments also meant reliance on others or using public transport which was challenging for a time-pressured mum using a powered wheelchair. 

Sarah continues: “Things needed to change. So, after speaking to my neurologist, I was signposted towards DriveAbility Scotland who would assess me and recommend the right driving controls to get me back behind the wheel. I had an appointment at their centre in October and was assessed by an Occupational Therapist and Approved Driving Instructor.  I was quite apprehensive before my visit; however, they immediately put me at ease by explaining it was not a test, it was an assessment. Due to weakness in my legs and arms, it was agreed that I should try driving with a steering wheel under-ring and radial push brake.  Well, it felt a bit odd at first but to be fair, I got my head around using these controls pretty quickly. This meant I could drive without using my legs, amazing!” 

Following her assessment and receipt of a written report, Sarah was given the names of recommended vehicle convertors who could adapt her car with the new driving controls. Sarah chose AIC Glasgow to fit the under-ring and radial push brake and within a few weeks she was driving full-time and back ‘being Mum’.

Sarah concludes: “Being able to drive means we can live a normal life; I can be the ‘Mum taxi’ again. I spend most of my time driving Charlotte around to her friends and various activities and share the school runs with other parents. I’m absolutely loving it. Using my new adaptations now feels second nature. It took me a bit of time to get totally used to them, and remembering I can’t wave at people, but today I don’t think twice about how to get about. I think the superb support from DriveAbility Scotland has helped me get my confidence back so quickly and they were brilliant all the way through. I’d recommend their services to everyone in Scotland looking for ways to drive independently with conditions such as MS.”

DriveAbility Scotland’s assessment centre is helping Scottish disabled drivers get back behind the wheel.

Based in Glasgow and helping to keep disabled people mobile, DriveAbility Scotland is the latest driving assessment centre to open as part of the national Driving Mobility charity network.

Since the centre opened last July a large and growing number of disabled people have benefited from the services it offers. Based in Glasgow, DriveAbility Scotland is the latest driving assessment centre to open as part of the national Driving Mobility charity network.

Driving Mobility coordinates a network of over 20 centres in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, many with outreach facilities, which provide ‘fitness to drive’ and mobility equipment assessments. Supported by The Department for Transport (DfT), Driving Mobility Approved Driving Instructors (ADIs) and Occupational Therapists (OTs) guide and support individuals who self-refer or are signposted from the DVLA, Motability, Police and NHS. Every member is committed to enabling people with restricted mobility so they can remain independent whether driving an adapted vehicle, using assistive equipment or travelling by accessible transport. 

Driving Mobility’s latest centre, DriveAbility Scotland, will now provide services for Scottish people. Previously nearby centres in northern England, could not be accessed due to NHS commissioning rules and the DfT having no jurisdiction in Scotland. The centre has a fleet of dual controlled cars with various specialist driving and control adaptations so drivers and passengers can be assessed and given recommendations. The small specialist team has been carefully selected to offer friendly, professional advice, enhanced by clinical expertise, to ensure the best possible outcome for clients. The opening of the centre has been made possible by the support of Allied Vehicles, the respected vehicle adaptation specialist.

Edward Trewhella, CEO, Driving Mobility, is delighted with this new service as he comments: “DriveAbility Scotland represents an exciting expansion of our driving assessments and a first for the charity. We are continually focused on bringing our services closer to everyone, especially as Driving Mobility’s role is now more vital than ever before. We strive to ensure freedom, inclusivity and safety for all with restricted mobility – now possible in Scotland.”  

Charity funded DriveAbility Scotland provides the following services to people, of all ages, who have a disability or live with a life changing condition/injury:

  • Driving assessments
  • Driver/passenger access and seating assessments
  • Specialist driving tuition
  • Recommendations regarding accessible vehicles and adaptations

Gerry Facenna, owner of Allied Vehicles Group in Glasgow, has stepped in to help save the city’s only facility providing driving assessments for disabled drivers. He is donating a total of £7,500 to DriveAbility Scotland, part of national charity Driving Mobility, which oversees all such centres in the UK. “We are proud to have been manufacturing wheelchair accessible vehicles for nearly 30 years, helping to ensure the independence of people with disabilities.”, said Gerry.

“Hopefully this funding, which will be delivered over the next five months, will give DriveAbility Scotland breathing space to look to its longer-term stability”. Gerry’s donation through his company’s charity arm, Allied Vehicles Charitable Trust, has highlighted funding disparities for these facilities in Scotland and across the UK.

DriveAbility Scotland is located at 75 Hawthorn Street, Glasgow. G22 6HY.

Tel: 0141 648 8470 Email: