Motability scheme Archives - Driving Mobility

Driving Mobility’s RDAC Disability Driving School helps first client pass driving test

Following a severe arm injury, James Martin, 30, from Farnworth near Bolton, has become the first Driving Mobility client to pass his driving test thanks to the support of the new RDAC Disability Driving School.

man in adapted vehicle

Following a severe arm injury, James Martin, 30, from Farnworth near Bolton, has become the first Driving Mobility client to pass his driving test thanks to the support of the new RDAC Disability Driving School.

Father of two young boys, James experienced a life changing injury whilst working at a plastic recycling centre in 2018. His arm and hand were crushed in a mechanical baler which resulted in hospitalisation, several operations and amputation of two fingers. After his initial recovery, James continued with rehabilitation however has been left with limited mobility and strength in his right hand and arm. His injury has also affected his back and ability to walk which meant passing his test to drive a car was essential for independence and supporting his family. To gain his licence, James would need to be assessed by a qualified organisation who could professionally check whether adapted driving controls would be suitably safe. His rehab manager researched suitable driving assessment services and decided to contact RDAC in Salford, a Driving Mobility centre, to see if they could help.

RDAC centres (Regional Driving Assessment Centres) are centrally located in the UK and are part of the wider Driving Mobility network. Supported by the Department for Transport, Driving Mobility is a charity that accredits over 20 driving and mobility assessment centres across the UK. Many with outreach facilities, these provide clinically-led ‘fitness to drive’ guidance for disabled drivers who want to maintain or regain independence behind the wheel. Driving Mobility centres either operate within the NHS or as independent charities – all focused on assisted driving or personal mobility through accessible travel, wheelchairs and mobility scooters. The Salford RDAC centre provides all of these services alongside a new Disability Driving School. Established in 2020, this specialist tuition service helps drivers with life-changing diagnosis, such as James, to learn how to drive with adaptations.

Following an initial telephone consultation to evaluate his needs, James attended RDAC for a driving assessment in October 2020. With the help of John Allen, ADI (Approved Driving Instructor) and an RDAC Occupational Therapist, James completed a desk-based session, checking cognitive abilities and general mobility, followed by a 45-minute assessment out on the road. James drove one of the centre’s fleet of automatic dual-controlled cars which had already been adapted with a steering aid to ascertain its suitability. RDAC had recommended a ‘Lodgesons Lollipop’ grip secondary control unit which clips to a steering wheel and communicates with a car via Bluetooth. This provides an easy-grip handle for turning a vehicle safely with one hand and can include a range of secondary controls.

During James’ assessment he demonstrated that he could use this adaptation to steer with confidence; however, it highlighted he could not affectively use standard indicators, especially when navigating roundabouts. This led to RDAC’s recommendation to integrate indicator controls within any future steering lollipop.

Following his assessment, James was given a consultation and a report explaining RDAC’s recommendations. To pass his DVSA driving test for the first time, they advised he completed driving lessons at the centre with a car specifically adapted to his needs. James agreed and was assigned specialist Driving Assessor Dominic Hibbin to instruct him for an initial 10 hours. It was estimated James would then be experienced enough to take his test and pass without any problems. He completed the course with the RDAC Disability Driving School and did indeed pass his test first time during November 2020 as he explains: “I thoroughly enjoyed my driving lessons; Dom was excellent and believed in me all the way. He gave me confidence that I could do it and made me feel relaxed. I passed the theory test and then when it came to driving, I took this relaxed feeling into the practical test. I knew this would be important, as if I was relaxed, the examiner would be relaxed. I’m so happy to say I passed first time and can now look forward to driving.”

James has applied for a Motability car through his Personal Independence Payment. He has the RDAC recommendations which will be used to specify the right adaptations so he can drive safely. James already has plans for how this is going to improve his life: “Having a car will make a massive difference to us. I’ll be able to take my boys further afield as they love to be out kicking a football and we can go and see my mum in the Scottish Borders. On a day-to-day basis, we won’t have to get taxis everywhere and I can help my elderly neighbours more with their shopping. Shopping at the minute is hard as I struggle to walk and carry bags so have to keep stopping. However, I’ve carried on during lockdown to help my neighbours who can’t get out.”

James is optimistic about the future and is so grateful for the support of RDAC. He recommends its services to all with driving challenges, as he concludes: “RDAC are one excellent organisation! I’m chuffed to have been the first person to benefit from this new service and will share the news with all my friends and family. They were all fantastic and gave me the belief I could pass my test again. John’s mock driving test really helped before the big day. Dom kept saying how comfortable he felt in the car with me during the lessons and we had a rewarding time together. I now have the details of a vehicle convertor who RDAC recommends so can get my car ready quickly when Motability hopefully approve my application. My rehab manager is confident I’ll be successful, so I can look forward to brighter days when the lockdown is eased.”

#MyDrivingMobility

South East DriveAbility Open Day launches new partnership with East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service

Successful Open Day event to launch a new partnership with East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service (ESFRS) enabling increased access to driving and adaptation assessments

People in front of fire engine

South East DriveAbility (SED) based in Aylesford, has held a successful Open Day event to launch a new partnership with East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service (ESFRS) enabling increased access to driving and adaptation assessments alongside home fire safety guidance (13th September, Uckfield Fire Station).

Part of Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust, and overseen by the charity Driving Mobility, SED’s team of Occupational Therapists and Approved Driving Instructors provide assessment and advice on driving, car adaptation and vehicle choice for disabled drivers and passengers. 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.

South East DriveAbility’s well-attended open day event marked the launch of its new Outreach Service at Uckfield Fire Station, which will provide people from the local community with greater access to driving assessment appointments and free fire safety advice from ESFRS. In attendance were the Uckfield Mayor Cllr Spike Mayhew and Deputy Mayor Cllr Jackie Love who were able to view a selection of adapted vehicles, including wheelchair-accessible vehicles (WAVs) that are used for driver and passenger assessments. Visitors were also able to listen to informative presentations from SED, ESFRS and Wealden Police explaining each organisation’s community service provision, watch fire safety demonstrations and gain beneficial information regarding fire prevention within the home.

Anuraj Varshney, Consultant Practitioner and Head of Service at South East DriveAbility, comments: “We are proud to be working with partner organisations in our local community and delighted that our new Outreach Service Open Day was well attended by colleagues from the Fire and Rescue Service, Police Service and local authorities such as the NHS. The event demonstrated an excellent example of how multi agencies can work together to improve road safety and health & well-being for clients from all age groups.”

Anuraj continues: “As with all Driving Mobility centres, we aim to provide a high calibre service and valuable information, hence our partnership with ESFRS now links our specialist driving assessments with free fire safety advice for our clients. The new Outreach Service at Uckfield Fire Station allows us to be more accessible to people living in the region and through a new choice of venue, individuals can benefit from reduced travel times and increased appointment availability. We hope this will encourage more people to contact us for professional driving information and specialist guidance.”

Assessments are free when referred by healthcare professionals, the DVLA and Motability. Alternatively, individuals can make a self-referral via the main centre in Aylesford.

To find out more about the services available from South East DriveAbility visit https://www.kentcht.nhs.uk/service/southeast-driveability

Image:South East DriveAbility and East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service launch new partnership at Uckfield Fire Station Open Day with Uckfield Mayor Cllr Spike Mayhew and Deputy Mayor Cllr Jackie Love.

One Big Day – Yorkshire Event Centre, Harrogate

Saturday 10 August 2019 – 9am to 4pm. One Big Day at the Yorkshire Event Centre, Harrogate provides the perfect opportunity to discover everything you need to know about worry-free motoring with Motability.

Saturday 10 August 2019 – 9am to 4pm

One Big Day at the Yorkshire Event Centre, Harrogate provides the perfect opportunity to discover everything you need to know about worry-free motoring with Motability. There is a huge range of cars, adaptations, Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles, scooters and powered wheelchairs on display and what’s more, admission is free!

One Big Day Harrogate brings together everything available on the Motability Scheme to make joining the Scheme as easy as possible. It’s free to attend and a great day out for the whole family. There will be:

  • Over 100 cars, Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs), adaptations, scooters and powered wheelchairs on display
  • The opportunity to test drive adapted and non-adapted cars
  • Motability Scheme advisors available to chat to
  • Free parking, free tea, coffee or soft drink
  • A children’s play area including a bouncy castle and more…

At One Big Day Harrogate specialist advice will be available from:

  • Motability Scheme advisors
  • Adaptation and WAV specialists
  • Disabled Motoring UK
  • Driving Mobility
  • Kwikfit, RAC and RSA Motability

A full list of the exhibitors attending One Big Day at the Yorkshire Event Centre, Harrogate will be available closer to the event date.

https://www.motability.co.uk/news-views-and-events/one-big-day/harrogate/display/

East Anglian DriveAbility steers Gary towards safe independent driving from a wheelchair

East Anglian DriveAbility (EAD) has assisted Gary Gray from Braintree to discover motoring independence with a disability.

Driving Assessment

Part of the Driving Mobility national network of driving assessment centres, East Anglian DriveAbility (EAD) has assisted Gary Gray from Braintree to discover motoring independence with a disability.

Driving Mobility oversees 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.

Gary, 53 from Braintree, worked as a Mobile Tyre Fitter until he became ill with peripheral neuropathy in 2011, a condition which develops when nerves in the body’s extremities are damaged. He subsequently spent considerable time dealing with life-changing consequences and was unable to drive for several years. Before contacting EAD, he had attempted to test drive a WAV (Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle), which resulted in damage to the vehicle and a serious dent to his already ‘rock-bottom’ confidence. By self-referring himself to EAD, Gary was determined to find professional and appropriate advice that would re-enable safe independent driving.

Gary comments: “This time a comprehensive assessment took place before I was allowed near a vehicle. This was to provide the EAD staff, including an OT and Approved Driving Instructor, with a true picture of my health, medical requirements and physical and cognitive abilities. It was very professional and completely different to my first experience elsewhere. When I began the actual driving assessment, I was accompanied by specialist staff and received guidance throughout. I tried different options for getting in and out of a vehicle and trialled new assistive controls, such as a steering wheel knob – all at a pace that suited me.”

Following the assessment, EAD provided a comprehensive report which advised Gary on suitable adaptations for safe driving and suggested further lessons would be beneficial. Once these are completed, Gary hopes to choose a vehicle with adaptations via the Motability scheme, based on EAD recommendations.

Gary concludes: “I would really like a drive-from-wheelchair vehicle as this would be easiest for me. EAD have been extremely helpful in showing me all the different aids and adaptations. I now know that a steering wheel knob and wheelchair ramp will be essential which I hadn’t considered before. I feel so informed which will definitely help me with purchasing and driving requirements. Thanks to EAD independent driving is now a possibility for me for the first time in over seven years.”