Wessex DriveAbility Archives - Driving Mobility

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.”


Wessex DriveAbility gives Basingstoke horrific accident survivor renewed independence

Steve North experienced life-changing injuries and reduced mobility during a horrific accident read how Wessex DriveAbility helped him obtain his licence and regain independence.

Disabled Driver Passing Driving Test

Steve North, 39, experienced life-changing injuries and reduced mobility during a horrific accident in 2016. Having previously never taken a driving test, in early 2018 Steve contacted Wessex DriveAbility, a Driving Mobility centre, for a driving assessment with a view to obtaining his licence and regaining independence.

The charity Driving Mobility directs a network of sixteen independent organisations, many with satellite centres, nationwide, which offer professional information, advice and driving assessments to people seeking independent mobility. Centres are staffed by Occupational Therapists as well as Approved Driving Instructors so that a full service, including advice on all aspects of driving and transfer in and out of vehicles, can be provided for drivers with injuries, disabilities or restricted mobility. Wessex Drivability is based at Portswood, Southampton, and also operates outreach centres to reduce travel times for service users. Wessex DriveAbility offers both driving and transfer assessments which include a full consultation, professional advice and a written report.

On the day of the accident, Steve, from Basingstoke, was walking with his wife when two vehicles collided on the bridge they were crossing. Steve was hit by one car and the impact propelled him over the side of the bridge. He landed feet first on the carriageway below. Steve comments: “My wife and I were going out for breakfast, as it was my birthday. I heard a bang and felt the impact of the car – but I don’t remember much after that. I fell fifty feet on to the road below. I guess I was lucky that that road was unusually free of vehicles!”

Steve was initially flown by air ambulance to Southampton Hospital where he was placed in a coma for ten days. He was then kept flat with limited movement for three weeks due to the risk of paralysis from severe injuries. With over twenty fractures, Steve had sustained an L1 spine fracture, a fractured pelvis, badly broken bones in his legs and knees and his left ankle was completely shattered. He was transferred to Salisbury Hospital where doctors fought successfully to save his twisted left leg, only to later have his right leg amputated at the knee.

Steve comments: “I left hospital in February 2017 and used a wheelchair initially but now have a prosthetic leg. I have ongoing physiotherapy and I’m due to have further surgery later this year to fuse my left ankle and relieve pain. Unfortunately, I have been warned there is a chance I could lose my left leg during the operation. Having had a few driving lessons many years ago, I have decided that now would be a great time to obtain my driving licence as I would like to retain independence long-term. “

Mr North visited Wessex Mobility for an initial assessment of his abilities, which included a discussion regarding his health and current medication, before trialling various adaptations and then being accompanied for a drive in a dual-controlled vehicle with a brake/accelerator lever hand control and steering aid.

Steve comments: “Laura from the centre came with me in the car and was absolutely brilliant. I was very nervous but she calmed me down and made me feel so confident. After the drive, I received detailed advice and a list of Approved Driving Instructors (ADIs) to contact. I am now taking lessons in an adapted vehicle and I go out driving three to four times each week. I am determined to pass my test and ensure that I keep as mobile as possible in the future.”


Wessex DriveAbility at Southampton General Hospital Open Day

Wessex DriveAbility are delighted to be presenting their services at Southampton General Hospital’s Open Day on Saturday 8 September 2018.

Wessex DriveAbility are delighted to be presenting their driving assessment services at Southampton General Hospital’s Open Day on Saturday 8 September 2018.

The 2018 Hospital Open Day will be taking place on Saturday, 8 September 2018 from 10.30am to 3.30pm at Southampton General Hospital with hundreds of activities and stalls on offer throughout the day.

The Open Day is a fantastic day for all the family to find out more about the hospital and UHS, the services we provide, the amazing opportunities available and ground-breaking work taking place.

The theme this year will be Health Hero Academy through the years and give visitors the chance to not only pick up new skills and have fun, but find out more about the history of University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, as well as our plans for the future.

There will be numerous activities on offer and more information will be shared shortly.

There’s no need to book, just turn up on the day and have fun.

For further details please visit the hospital’s Facebook page 

Please note: some activities are subject to availability.

To find out more about your local Driving Mobility driving assessment centre please visit: https://www.drivingmobility.org.uk/find-a-centre/