DVLA Archives - Driving Mobility

Driving Mobility’s RDAC Salford assessment centre opens up assistive driving opportunities for Paula

Salford’s RDAC has given powerchair user Paula Taylor from Bolton the route to complete driving independence through its specialist assessment and advice service.

As one of the UK-wide Driving Mobility assessment centres, Salford’s RDAC has given powerchair user Paula Taylor from Bolton the route to complete driving independence through its specialist assessment and advice service.

Charity Driving Mobility, supported by the Department for Transport, accredits twenty independent organisations which offer professional driving assessments to people who need to gain, or retain, the ability to drive following a diagnosis involving impairment or disability. Service users can self-refer or are signposted by the DVLA, Motability, Police and healthcare professionals such as GPs. The new, custom-built RDAC centre in Salford advises Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Cheshire drivers, passengers, motorcyclists, mobility scooter and wheelchair users on independence mobility.

Paula, aged 46, has driven the same adapted vehicle since a car accident in 2001 which caused a progressive decline in health and mobility. Following injections in 2003 to treat Fibromyalgia, she became paralysed from the neck down and spent a year recuperating in hospital. Paula was subsequently diagnosed with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), a debilitating complex pain condition in her limbs.  Now a full-time wheelchair user, Paula’s needs have recently changed and she finds unaided transfers into her car particularly difficult. Having first visited a Driving Mobility centre fifteen years ago, she decided to arrange another assessment at RDAC Salford in preparation for a new vehicle purchase. Paula wanted to ascertain that she was still using the most suitable adaptations and which controls would fit her new vehicle.

Paula comments: “Following my time in hospital, I became very depressed as I needed help with everything. I knew something had to change and my first Driving Mobility assessment in 2004 was incredibly helpful. In fact, I have used the recommended adjustable floor-mounted hand control ever since. I now have a more limited range of movement and a PA visits during the week to assist me – but I’m determined not to lose my driving independence, especially with five children and seven grandchildren. As I wanted to thoroughly research all my options, I contacted RDAC who have been really helpful.”

Following an update regarding Paula’s medical history and a cognitive assessment, Sean Barratt, RDAC Centre Manager, suggested Paula trial various new hand controls to operate the brakes and accelerator, as well as steering wheel rim controllers. However, as Paula found them unmanageable over extended periods of driving time, Sean subsequently recommended she updated her current controls to a Carospeed Menox. This can be installed in most vehicles and is highly adjustable to suit individual requirements. Sean also recommended a steering wheel ball and pedal adaptations to enable Paula to be more comfortable in the car.

Paula concludes: “To be able to talk to a specialist about individual needs and receive impartial advice is so reassuring. I discovered exactly what I needed, and I was delighted that all the adaptation recommendations were suitable for any vehicle. I’m grateful to the Centre staff for also spending time trying to establish which new vehicle would be best for me. They considered transfer requirements and which car could cater for my hoist and powerchair. Following my assessment, I have ordered a new accessible vehicle which fits me like a glove and is so easy to transfer into. The hands-on information that people can receive from Driving Mobility centres is unparalleled. I certainly know where to go next time I need advice!”

Wessex DriveAbility launches older drivers’ assessment service with Dorset Police

Wessex DriveAbility, part of the Driving Mobility network of driving assessment centres, has launched a new fitness to drive scheme for drivers referred to the charity by Dorset Police.

Wessex DriveAbility, part of the Driving Mobility network of driving assessment centres, has launched a new fitness to drive scheme for drivers referred to the charity by Dorset Police.

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. Wessex DriveAbility is part of this network with a main assessment centre in Southampton and further locations in Basingstoke, Salisbury, Ferndown and the Isle of Wright. Its team of Approved Driving Instructors, Occupational Therapists and Administrators provide comprehensive driving assessments for individuals who refer themselves to the service or are put forward by the DVLA or Motability. Wessex Driveability has also managed referrals from Hampshire Constabulary since 2013 which has now been extended to Dorset Police. This agreement, part of the ‘Older Drivers’ Forum’, provides a possible alternative for drivers who are to be prosecuted or fined following a road traffic accident or incident. Other areas which currently operate this scheme are South Wales, Cornwall, East Anglia and Newcastle.

If a driver aged 70 or over has been identified by the Police for driving ‘without due care and attention’ or ‘without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road or place’, they can be referred to Wessex DriveAbility for a fitness-to-drive assessment. This is not a legal requirement for each driver however it provides an opportunity to avoid further legal action or attendance on courses such as speed awareness sessions. Following the driving assessment, Wessex DriveAbility submits a report to Dorset Police which concludes whether the driver is safe to drive, requires training or must cease indefinitely. If it is recommended that the driver should cease driving, the findings are compiled with the Police’s initial incident report and sent to the DVLA who then make a final decision.

Rachel Odell, Wessex DriveAbility Centre Manager, comments: “We were the first Driving Mobility Centre to pioneer this programme with Hampshire Police and are delighted that the Dorset Force are now on-board. This provides a vital choice for older drivers who wish to replace potential prosecution, points or a fine, with a positive alternative. Here at Wessex, we focus on providing safe driving independence for people of all ages and abilities. Our comprehensive assessment services, led by healthcare and driving specialists, are ideally suited to support the Police – helping to deliver a better approach to driving and awareness of personal capabilities. Ultimately this service assists with safety for all road users and we look forward to working with other Constabularies in the future.”

#MyDrivingMobility

Relaunched Get Going Live! proves popular at William Merritt Centre’s AccessAbility event

The second in a series of regional Get Going Live! events, focusing on accessible motoring and independent mobility, has successfully taken place at the William Merritt Centre’s annual AccessAbility exhibition in Leeds.

The second in a series of regional Get Going Live! events, focusing on accessible motoring and independent mobility, has successfully taken place at the William Merritt Centre’s annual AccessAbility exhibition in Leeds.

18th October. Centenary Pavilion, Leeds United Football Club. LS11 0ES.

The William Merritt Centre, based in Leeds and Sheffield, is one of twenty independent organisations, many with satellite centres, which offer professional information, advice and driving assessments for people seeking assistance with mobility. Supported and accredited by Driving Mobility, all centres are staffed by Occupational Therapists as well as Approved Driving Instructors so that safety and driving solutions for individuals with injuries, disabilities or restricted mobility are maximised. As well as conducting assessments on behalf of the DVLA, Motability and healthcare professionals, Driving Mobility accepts self-referrals.

Previously a feature of the national Mobility Roadshow which closed in 2017, Get Going Live! relaunched for the first time in early October 2018, at the Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for Disabled People (QEF), a Driving Mobility centre in Carshalton.

This latest event, hosted by the William Merritt Centre, proved popular all day with both young and older individuals, with existing or progressive conditions, benefitting from free test drives and independent, professional advice. Teenagers, from the age of 14, were provided with unique opportunities to trial adapted vehicles for the first time, in safe surroundings, enabling vital preparations for future driving with a long-term condition or disability. Vehicle manufacturers showcased their latest products as part of the Get Going Live! feature and also within the AccessAbility exhibition itself, allowing event visitors to discover suitable options for assisted and independent motoring.

David Blythe, William Merritt Centre Manager, comments: “We are delighted that our annual AccessAbility exhibition, incorporating Get Going Live! has been so well attended by both visitors and exhibitors. The Get Going Live! feature offered our visitors fantastic opportunities to try adapted and accessible vehicles, accompanied by a specialist driving instructor. This unique experience allows end-users of all ages to make informative decisions regarding safer driving as well as vehicle purchasing and adaptations.”

The wider AccessAbility exhibition successfully showcased new and innovative assistive technology and equipment from leading specialist suppliers. A number of charities were in attendance providing one-to-one advice and information for disabled children and adults or those with additional needs. The exhibition also offered a special gaming area showcasing adaptations which enable access to computers, mobile phones, tablets, toys and computer games whilst providing an area to chill out and have fun.

David Blythe concludes: “The Centenary Pavilion at Leeds United Football Ground has provided an amazing setting for a showcase of assistive products and services that enable people to live with greater independence. We wish to thank everyone involved in organising this rewarding event and look forward to a positive future for both the AccessAbility exhibition and Get Going Live! events.”

2018 Driving Mobility Annual Conference accelerates accessibility nationwide

Driving Mobility has successfully held its Annual Conference at The University of Chester

Driving Mobility AGM

The charity Driving Mobility has successfully held its Annual Conference at The University of Chester for Professionals and Practitioners to share developments and ideas regarding accessible driving.

The event was attended by staff and managers from all nationwide assessment centres along with board members, educational specialists and guest speakers. The comprehensive agenda involved a variety of topical presentations and discussions focusing on developments within Driving Mobility and the accessible driving sector as a whole.

Strengthening Existing Services and Developing New Centres

Driving Mobility Chief Executive, Edward Trewhella, provided a compelling update regarding the charity’s business strategy and how it focuses on strengthening existing services and developing new centres. This presentation was followed by a series of speakers from within the organisation outlining current educational initiatives, operational standards and assessment training. The morning session came to a close once AGM formalities were completed and new board members were voted in – Alan Norton (Independent), Phil North (OT), Laura Holly (ADI), Ann Frye (Independent) and Anne O’Shea (OT/Cornwall Board).

External Speakers

The afternoon programme was equally as rewarding for all attendees. Driving Mobility welcomed a series of external speakers so that the latest developments and challenges within accessible driving and driver assessment could be highlighted. Guests included Owain Read from Motability; Jon Quinn from Research Institute for Disabled Consumers; Dr Paul Donaghy, Academic Clinical Lecturer, Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University; and Kim Morgan, Assistant Director Specialist and Elective Services, Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust.

The final slot of the day involved a fascinating presentation from Ann Frye, recently appointed board member and highly experienced inclusive transport specialist. She outlined the latest initiatives in public transport accessibility and how individuals can remain independent if driving is no longer possible. Colin Barnett, Driving Mobility Chair, successfully summarised the day’s achievements and brought proceedings to a close.

Edward Trewhella concludes: “A really interesting day was had by all and it was really positive to see senior representation and participation from DVLA, Motability, DVSA and the Department for Transport.”