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Driving With Aphasia

Many people with Aphasia successfully begin driving again. However, for safety reasons, you must follow the guidelines set out by the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) before returning to the road.

If your Aphasia is caused by a stroke, you must not drive a car for at least a month. Before continuing to drive, you must have an assessment by your doctor. If your doctor agrees that you are fit to drive, you may resume doing so. However, if your doctor feels that you are not yet fit to drive, you must inform the DVLA and your insurance company about your situation. You are still not allowed to drive.

Once the DVLA has been notified, they will send you a questionnaire to complete and will ask permission to contact your doctor for further information about your condition, if necessary.

Making an assessment

The DVLA base their decision on the information you provide on the form and on various assessments. Your GP or consultant may be asked for a report on your condition and whether they consider you safe to drive.

If your doctor feels unable to decide whether you are fit to drive, or it is not clear from the report, you may be independently assessed by a GP on behalf of the DVLA. The DVLA will explain how this can be arranged.

The following factors will be taken into consideration by the DVLA when they assess your fitness to drive:

  • permanent damage to vision
  • problems with memory, judgement and concentration
  • slow reactions in an emergency
  • spasm in a paralysed limb which cannot be controlled
  • seizures or convulsions

Keeping your licence

Once the Drivers Medical Unit at the DVLA has all the information it needs, it will make a decision on whether you can begin to drive again. However, this may take a few months. When a decision is made both you and your doctor will be informed.

You must let your insurance company know of the decision. If it is considered unsafe for you to continue driving, your licence will be revoked.

If your driving licence has been revoked because you were not fit to drive but your condition subsequently improves, you can reapply for a licence. However, you will not be able to drive again until a licence has been reissued, even if your doctor says it is safe for you to do so.

Insurance

As well as informing the DVLA, you must let your insurance company know about your condition. You must also inform them if you make any vehicle modifications to enable you to drive. If you fail to inform them you may find you are not insured.

Your insurance company may want a doctor’s report to say it is safe for you to start driving again. If you experience problems with your insurance contact the British Insurance Brokers Association (see contact details below). They can direct you to an independent insurance broker who will be able to advise you on the most appropriate vehicle insurance policy.

Mobility centres

There are a number of accredited mobility centres around the country which can offer information, advice and help on driving with a disability. They will also be able to carry out a full assessment of your driving skills, especially if you have lost confidence in your driving ability. This can identify any problems and help you find ways of dealing with them. At some centres you can also be assessed for a pavement vehicle, scooter or wheelchair. An assessment costs upwards of £45.

The mobility centre can advise on any adaptations to your vehicle that may be necessary to enable you to drive after a stroke. Some centres also give driving lessons to help you regain confidence or to help you learn to manage an adapted vehicle.

Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation Mobility Centre can give you a list of accredited mobility centres in England and Wales. They can also send you a list of conversion specialists if you need adaptations. Similarly, MAVIS (Mobility Advice and Vehicle Information Service) can offer information and advice on all aspects of driving after a stroke, as well as assessments and details of other accredited mobility centres and conversion specialists.

Contacts

DVLA
Drivers’ Medical Unit
Longview Road
Swansea
SA99 1TU
Tel: 0870 600 0301

British Insurance Brokers Association
BIBA House
14 Bevis Marks
London
EC3A 7NT
Tel: 020 7623 9043

MAVIS
Macadam Avenue
Old Wokingham Rd
Crowthorne
Berkshire
RG45 6XD
Tel: 01344 661000

Mobility and General Information Centre (MAGIC)
Century Road
Hillmead
Swindon
SN55 5DR
Tel: 0800 240 241

Regional Driving Assessment Centre
Unit 11, Network Park
Dudderston Mill Road Saltley
Birmingham
B8 1AU
Tel: 0845 337 1540

Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation Mobility Centre
Damson Way
Fountain Drive
Carshalton
Surrey
SM5 4NR
Tel: 020 8770 1151

The Disabled Drivers’ Association National Headquarters
Ashwellthorpe
Norwich
Norfolk
NR16 1EX
Tel: 01508 489 449

The Disabled Drivers’ Motor Club
Cottingham Way
Thrapston
Northants
NN14 4PL
Tel: 01832 734 724

The Blue Badge scheme

The Blue Badge scheme provides a range of parking concessions for people with severe mobility problems who have difficulty using public transport. The scheme operates throughout the UK.

The concessions apply to on-street parking and include free use of parking meters and pay-and-display bays. Badge holders may also be exempt from limits on parking times and can park for up to three hours on single and double yellow lines as long as they are not causing an obstruction (except where there is a ban on loading or unloading or other restrictions).

While the scheme operates throughout the UK, there are small variations in its application in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

This information is taken from the RAC website. If you would like further details, please follow this link.