driving assessment centre Archives - Driving Mobility

Herts GP given driving freedom after serious brain illness thanks to Driving Mobility

Dr Alka Chandrayan, 45 from Letchworth Garden City, has regained her motoring independence following a life-threatening condition, thanks to the support of a Hertfordshire Driving Mobility centre.

Dr Alka Chandrayan, 45 from Letchworth Garden City, has regained her motoring independence following a life-threatening condition, thanks to the support of a Hertfordshire Driving Mobility centre.

Driving Mobility is a national charity that oversees driver assessments, personal mobility guidance and accessible travel information for those who have experienced life-changing illness or have restricted mobility. Clients, such as Dr Chandrayan, can self-refer or are signposted from the DVLA, Motability, Police and healthcare professionals such as GPs and OTs (Occupational Therapists). Driving Mobility, which consists of NHS departments and independent charities, provides 20 centres with over 70 outreach facilities – all focused on road safety and appropriate vehicle adaptations.

Dr Chandrayan contacted Driving Mobility (the Herts Ability centre) following a severe attack of Viral Encephalitis. Encephalitis is a rare, serious condition in which the brain becomes inflamed and swollen. Following hospitalisation and initial rehabilitation, Alka was instructed to seek a professional driving assessment so that she could regain her licence from the DVLA.

Alka begins her story: “Being a GP, I was aware of the Driving Mobility assessment centres.  I became very unwell with an acute attack of Viral Encephalitis during the summer of 2019. As per protocol, the medical authorities told me I must inform the DVLA, who put my driving licence on hold until I returned to good health and my driving ability was re-assessed. When my specialist neurologists and vocational healthcare professionals felt I appeared fit to get back to driving, they advised me to attend a driving assessment centre. My husband, Dr Shivesh Kumar Sinha, looked online and picked up the nearest Driving Mobility centre. As much as my cognitive recovery had been good, I totally understood that more complex activities, like driving and medical work, would need more comprehensive tests.”

“My husband drove me to the centre. The team were very friendly and welcoming – with a relaxed atmosphere. The encouraging leaflets in the waiting area, for people requiring assisted living, caught my instant attention and praise. My assessors Sarah Wright and Simon Edwards greeted me after a peaceful 15 minutes in the waiting area. They were both professional and courteous with a very warm smile. I was a touch anxious having never faced such a situation in my own personal life. Their very approachable yet professional demeanour put me at ease instantly. They patiently explained to me what the assessment would comprise of – screening for cognitive function, followed by an in-car assessment on the road.”

Alka’s assessment began with desk-based activities in one of the centre’s consultation rooms. She explains: “As my husband and Simon watched, Sarah carried out a series of tests to address the core neuropsychological skills necessary for safe driving. It felt very respectful and with each supported step, instilling little life-bursts of confidence in me. It felt more like those fun aptitude tests. Of course, Sarah was testing for visual perception, praxis skills, executive functioning and comprehension.”

Following the initial part of the process, Alka was then accompanied to a vehicle: “For the on-road assessment, I was in the driver’s seat with Simon next to me. Sarah was on the back seat. The centre had already taken the details of my current car and therefore had provided a vehicle with similar specifications – automatic, without any adaptations. I was reassuringly given enough time to familiarise myself with the assessment car, then we proceeded around a 14-mile route. This comprised of residential streets, town centre traffic, faster country lanes and dual carriageways. It took me about 45 minutes and included performing an emergency-stop.”

“During the whole time, the vibes were so positive. Simon kept reminding me, that it wasn’t a driving test and that I was already a proficient driver. He and Sarah had their assessor’s eyes on me as that is their job, but the manner in which it was done added so much to my confidence. Simon said: ‘Alka, even if you take a wrong turn, it doesn’t matter. In normal daily life, we can all take wrong turnings. So, as long as it is done safely, it is okay.’ A simple thing we all know, but to be reminded of it at a crucial time, in the most calm and respectful manner, made me feel that I was driving with friends!”

When the driving assessment was complete, Alka returned to a consultation room for feedback from her assessors: “I felt very positive even before I got my result. The team felt valuable to me and of immense importance, not just because they were assessing my driving, but because of the way they did it. I came out being rendered “safe to return to driving”, and a confident person plus I really hope, a better doctor! I will always inform my relevant patients and their families about this wonderful team and how Driving Mobility could be of immense help to them. Thank you Driving Mobility.”

#MyDrivingMobility

Driving Mobility assessments reopen to safely support disabled drivers

Driving Mobility assessment centres reopening services with Covid-19 safety measures so drivers can once again receive expert guidance regarding assisted motoring.

Driving Mobility, the charity that accredits a network of specialist driving assessment centres, is reopening its UK services with Covid-19 safety measures so drivers can once again receive expert guidance regarding assisted motoring.

Driving Mobility Centres provide professional, clinically-led driving and mobility assessments for individuals who have restricted mobility. Service users self-refer or are signposted to its 20 Centres from the DVLA, Motability, the Police and healthcare professionals such as GPs and Occupational Therapists. These Centres provide over 70 outreach facilities bringing the service close to where people live, and which are managed by independent charities or NHS departments – all focused on helping people with disabilities or life changing diagnosis to continue driving safely. Since the lockdown in March, Driving Mobility assessment appointments have been suspended following guidance from the Government. However, from the 6th July, Centres will be reintroducing services with a phased approach so that clients and staff remain safe from coronavirus.

Edward Trewhella, CEO, Driving Mobility, comments: “Every centre is preparing to reopen for safe driving assessments. All our staff are keen to get going and have been busy organising new procedures in terms of Covid-19. Our Approved Driving Instructors and Occupational Therapists will be fully observing Government guidelines and NHS clinical principles, so clients experience a rewarding driving assessment that focuses on a positive outcome. We have a backlog of enquiries which will be resolved as quickly as possible and our teams are ready for new stakeholder referrals to begin once more.”

Members of the public, as clients, will need to be in a vehicle with Driving Mobility assessors, and this will involve several new procedures to reduce risk. These will include the use of PPE and hand sanitiser, thorough disinfecting of vehicles, open windows at all times and limited close personal contact. Use of assessment rooms and waiting areas will all be adjusted in accordance with advice from Public Health England.

Edward continues: “We believe our services are now more vital than ever before in terms of supporting peoples’ independence. With current advice to avoid public transport where necessary and to take extra precautions if you have underlying health conditions, the ability to drive a car independently with a disability has great significance for mental health and wellbeing. Our Centres also provide assessments and guidance on solutions for mobility that facilitate social distancing, such as powered wheelchairs and mobility scooters. These comprehensive services which encompass all aspects of accessible travel, provide the key to many who have been unable to leave home in an appropriate and safe manner.

Edward concludes: “Driving Mobility is the national voice of assisted driving and independence – now is the time this will be even more pronounced.”

East Anglian DriveAbility’s Thetford centre to unveil new driving and scooter assessment facilities for elderly and disabled locals

East Anglian DriveAbility (EAD), one of Driving Mobility’s UK assessment centres for elderly and disabled drivers, will be officially opening its enhanced Thetford centre on 11th July, 10am-4pm.

East Anglian DriveAbility (EAD), one of Driving Mobility’s UK assessment centres for elderly and disabled drivers, will be officially opening its enhanced Thetford centre on 11th July, 10am-4pm.

Official opening of new facilities at East Anglian Driveability at 2 Napier Place, Thetford, IP24 3RL. All press, healthcare professionals and public welcome.
Free access to the TGA test drive course for safe mobility scooter driving awareness.

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 and guidance regarding adapted vehicles, its Occupational Therapists and Driving Advisors provide several additional services focused on suitable mobility scooter, powerchair and wheelchair provision.

Service users at EAD either self-refer or are signposted by the DVLAMotabilityPolice and healthcare professionals such as Occupational Therapists (OTs) and GPs. The EAD centres are managed by a team of specialist OTs, Approved Driving Instructors (ADIs) and administration staff who are focused on recommended solutions for independent mobility. Now with enhanced facilities at the Thetford centre, EAD has the ability to extend and diversify services further with a view to helping more East of England drivers to remain on the road. The new extension includes an impressive training room for drivers and professionals and a larger reception which is spacious and welcoming.

EAD invites all healthcare professionals and members of the general public with an interest in adapted driving to attend the event. A vast range of adapted vehicles, WAVs (wheelchair accessible vehicles), specialist steering and driving controls will be on display and attendees will have the opportunity to try the vehicle simulator. Vehicle conversion companies will be supporting along with specialist suppliers such as Autochair car boot hoists and TGA mobility scooters. A scooter test drive course will be available so visitors can experience part of the EAD assessment process and determine which product is suitable for their needs.

Yvette Bateman, CEO, East Anglian DriveAbility, comments: “The official opening of our new extension promises to deliver a successful day for all. We are proud of our new facilities and the enhancement to services on offer for all elderly and disabled drivers within East Anglia. Sue Rogers from the Department for Transport and Helen Dolphin MBE, our Chair and well known accessible transport campaigner, will be available throughout the day. They will be able to explain the latest developments in legislation and topics such as disabled parking and the extension to the Blue Badge scheme. The team and I invite everyone with an interest in independent mobility to attend.”

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Driving Mobility’s RDAC to open cutting-edge Manchester driving assessment centre for disabled drivers

OFFICIAL OPENING: Thursday 1st November 2018, 11am – 3pm.
PRESS CALL: All reporters and photographers are welcome to attend.

Accredited by the charity Driving Mobility, RDAC operates 11 driver assessment centres nationwide – it is opening a brand new, state-of-the-art facility in Greater Manchester so that more people with disabilities can benefit from assisted motoring.

LOCATION: AJ Bell Stadium, 1 Stadium Way, Barton-upon-Irwell, Salford, Greater Manchester. M30 7EY
OFFICIAL OPENING: Thursday 1st November 2018, 11am – 3pm.
PRESS CALL: All reporters and photographers are welcome to attend.

The charity, Driving Mobility, accredits a UK network of 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. RDAC is part of this network and has been in existence since 1989 – it provides assessments for older and disabled drivers, passengers, motorcyclists and mobility scooter or wheelchair users. Within its services practical advice is given regarding appropriate driving adaptations, WAVs (Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles) and specialist tuition so that domestic and professional drivers can remain independent and safe. The new, custom-built RDAC centre in Salford represents a ‘flagship’ modern facility servicing people from Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Cheshire.

Sean Barratt, Assessment Team Manager, directs a team of Approved Driving Instructors, Occupational Therapists and Administrative staff – all focused on providing the best individualised recommendations for mobility with peace of mind. This caring and experienced team delivers a service that seeks to minimise the worry of driving assessment and positively supports drivers, of all ages, with conditions such as Stroke, Arthritis or Spinal Injury. The new Centre boasts outstanding access and transport links with off road assessment areas for non-licence holders. Other ancillary services include Tryb4uFly cabin assessments to help with accessible air travel, and guidance regarding specialist car seats for disabled children.

Sean explains: “The team and I are so proud of our new spacious centre – its modern facilities will make a huge difference to service users looking to regain their driving independence. I would like to invite everyone with an interest in assisted motoring to attend our official launch day. We have an impressive range of features planned including the opportunity to test drive adapted cars from our specialist fleet. We will be welcoming several VIPs including senior representatives from the Department for Transport and Driving Mobility. Come and enjoy free refreshments and the opportunity to meet drivers and professionals ready to share experiences and advice.”

Sean continues: “RDAC is all about restoring confidence and improving safety – we strive to help as many people as possible to regain driving independence. We have a fully accessible indoor assessment zone so that vehicles can be driven into the Centre for demonstrations and discussions whatever the weather. This is a major advantage, especially during the winter months, making appointments to discuss driving adaptations far more engaging. Our spacious premises include a suite of private consultation rooms and an information lounge full of the latest guidance and literature. Thanks to our stadium location, service users can benefit from a driving experience that is calm and reassuring.”

Sean concludes: “Our contemporary spacious setting is a welcoming and fresh environment to help disabled and elderly drivers seeking answers – it perfectly reflects the nationwide RDAC and Driving Mobility commitment to service excellence. We look forward to helping more and more individuals enjoy the lifestyle benefits of assisted motoring.”

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