Are you a Disabled Car Driver?
Declaration of Disability
It is very important for a disabled driver (current or old) to declare her or his medical condition (or disability) to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). The disabled driver will also need to keep the transport authorities (DVLA) updated, if in case she or he develops a new condition or disability or one that has become worse since your licence was issued.
When you have educated the DVLA of a disability, the medical consultant at DVLA will decide whether or not you application satisfies the national medical guidelines and the necessities of the law. Accordingly a licence will be issued, revoked or refused.
Adapting your Vehicle
There are motoring accessories available if you have upper or lower body disabilities or both. You can get your motor vehicle personalised so that getting in and out of the vehicle is easier, and driving is comfortable and safe.
Some of the personalised accessories by far available are easy steering wheel knobs, hand controls to operate the accelerator and break, adapted mirrors, wheelchair hoists, people lifts, ramps, tail lifts, rotating seats and other little gadgets like safety belts, seat belts, harnesses, cushions, covers and support.
- You may be entitled to claim exemption from vehicle tax. However, in order to claim this exemption the vehicle must be registered in your name or in the name of someone you nominate to drive for you.
- You will need to apply for an exemption certificate from the outfit that issues your benefit. The certificate will show your name and – if required – that of the nominee.
- Please note that the vehicle must be used only for your purposes. You will lose the exemption, if it is being used by someone else (for example, the nominee) for her or his own personal needs.
The Blue Badge Scheme
- The Blue (formerly orange) Badge Scheme is a service for people with severe mobility problems that helps them to park close to where they need to go. The scheme is managed by local authorities who issue badges. The badge carries a passport-sized photo of the holder and should be displayed on the facia panel or dashboard of the vehicle, where it is clearly visible and read through the windscreen.
- This scheme applies only to on-street parking. The Blue Badge holders may park on single or double yellow lines for up to three hours in England and Wales (except where loading and unloading is prohibited). Further, they may park their vehicle for free (and for as long as they need to) at pay-and-display machines and on-street parking meters, unless specifically mentioned not to.
- Many large stores and supermarkets set aside spaces dedicated to the use of disabled persons. Unfortunately, the Blue Badge Scheme does not apply to off-street car parks, private roads and at most airports. Also, it does not fully apply in four central London boroughs.
- If an enforcement officer asks to see your Blue badge, you must produce it. If you do not, you will be breaking the law and could be fined up to £1,000. Your badge can be seized if you endeavour to misuses it.
- The Blue Badge Card is issued for a three-year period and is then subject to renewal on payment of a small fee.
The Motability Scheme
- This scheme is meant to help you with buying or leasing a car if you are on the higher rate of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance. You can apply for a car as a passenger (and propose two other people as your drivers) even if you do not drive yourself.
- You can lease a new car supplied by a Motability accredited dealer (through the Contract Hire Scheme) for at least three years. Along with the lease you will also get free breakdown assistance, insurance and routine service for the vehicle.
- However, if you wish to purchase a car, hire purchase facilitates the buying of a new/used car. At the end of the agreement (between three and five years) you will own the car. Motability may also be able to help in providing a grant while financing your car or car adaptations. Through the Motability Scheme, you do not even have to pay VAT on the cost of hiring a car or getting the vehicle adapted.
The above concessions are not generally applicable when you are suffering from a temporary disability. In particular, if you are taking prescribed drugs or medicines. It is an offence to drive when so influenced. If you are taking prescribed medicines ask your doctor if it is safe to drive. However, if your mobility is seriously impaired on temporary basis, for example, if you are recovering from a major operation, you may obtain a disabled person’s badge for a limited period.