If you are an older or disabled person, owning a car can be a lifeline, especially if you need to travel for work, education or medical appointments and live in an area where public transport is poor. There’s no reason why you can’t drive for as long as it is safe to do so. If your disability makes it difficult for you to drive a standard car, you could think about adapting a vehicle or buying a car with specialist controls.
If you plan to adapt a car, to choose a specialist company to advise you on what controls are appropriate for you and your car.
The Research Institute for Consumer Affairs (Rica) has plenty of advice about motoring with a disability and what to consider when adapting a car.
If you are disabled and meet certain criteria, you might also be eligible for a Blue Badge.
Learning to drive
Disability does not have to be an obstacle to learning to drive. Disability Driving Instructors has a database of driving instructors who will help people with special needs and physical disabilities to learn to drive. Call 0844 800 7355.
Road Safety Wales offers Mature Driver’s Refresher Courses. Contact your local Road Safety Officer for details.
When it’s time to stop driving
If you want to carry on driving but are not sure if it's safe to do so, get your driving skills assessed by a professional driving instructor. The Mature Driver’s Assessment takes 60 minutes and will help you to make that difficult decision. Call: 0300 303 1134.
You can surrender your driving licence voluntarily by filling in a declaration and sending it to the DVLA. You must reapply for a new licence if you want to drive again after surrendering your licence.
Driving licence renewal
When you reach 70, you must renew your driving licence every three years. There should be no medical reason that prevents you from driving and you must meet certain minimum eyesight requirements.
The Disabled Motorists Federation provides advice, support and concessions on holidays to its members (membership costs £14 per year, 2015).
Motability gives disabled people on certain mobility benefits the opportunity to own or lease a new car or wheelchair accessible vehicle, scooter or powered wheelchair at an affordable price.
Insurance, servicing and maintenance is included as well as full breakdown assistance and annual vehicle tax.
The vehicle can be replaced every three years (five years for wheelchair accessible vehicles) and many adaptations can be made for no additional cost. Up to two named drivers are included in your lease – this can be you, friends, family or carers (a third driver can be added at an extra cost).
Eligibility to the scheme is determined by the benefits you receive (there is no upper age limit).