… and six other questions about getting an adapted car.
Is limited mobility preventing you from driving a car? Does your loved one have a condition that makes it hard to get them into the car? Maybe you’ve heard about adapting a car but don’t know where to start?
Here’s what you need to know if you’re a UK citizen. This article is also available in German if you live in Germany or French if you live in France.
If you intend to drive by yourself, we recommend that you contact Driving Mobility for an assessment. The purpose of this is to ensure that you are physically able to drive with the intended adaptations. You also need to inform the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and/or your insurance company if advised to do so.
Even if you don’t intend to be the driver or if you’re getting the adaptation for a child, your Occupational Therapist in cooperation with Driving Mobility can help you assess the best solution for you.
Once you have been assessed you can contact your local adaptation specialist to start the procedure. If you don’t already own a car that you intend to adapt it’s a good idea to talk to your adaptation specialist before buying one. Not all cars are created equal and some adaptations work better in some cars.
In the UK you can get your car fully funded adaptations included. The main charity for this is Motability, there are however other ways to seek funding, for example, Access to Work, MS Society, MND, and British Legion for Ex-Services just to name a few.
Depending on what organisation you approach the terms of funding might differ. For some charities, you need to financially qualify for aid.
Lastly, you can also privately fund your vehicle and its adaptations.
When adapting a vehicle to transport a child with special needs, assessment and funding are pretty much the same as for adults. One difference is that the assessment will consider if the adaptation is suitable for the child’s needs and ensure the carer is able to use the products without any difficulties.
For parents in need of adaptations for a child, the most common charity to seek funding with would be Motability.
The short answer is anyone with a driving license. However, it depends of course on the specific adaptations. A person requiring hand controls can receive driving lessons in an adapted vehicle and would also take their driving test with the chosen hand controls. This can be done with an independent driving school or Driving Mobility. Certain adaptations require the driving license to have codes added. In this case, Driving Mobility will complete an assessment report required by the DVLA. A similar report can be provided by a doctor.
Adapted vehicles in the UK can be exempt from the Vehicle Tax, some consumers could also be eligible for Blue Badge. For Blue Badge holders It’s also possible to apply to be exempt from paying for bridge and motorway tolls, as this varies a lot locally it’s best to find out what is applicable to you.
The time frame very much depends on the availability of the vehicle and which adaptations are required as well as if funding is needed from an organisation. If the vehicle is in stock and no financial support is required then you could potentially receive a completed vehicle within 4 weeks, otherwise, it could take up to 16 weeks and sometimes longer.
Any modifications made to vehicles must be notified to the insurance company and if driving controls are being used then the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) need to be notified.
Some adaptations may require an Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA), your vehicle adaptation specialist will know what applies to your adaptation.
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There are of course a number of useful aids that will enable you, both as driver and passenger, to enjoy the ride in the comfort of a car seat.
When you’re first out looking for an adapted vehicle you might not consider safety as an issue. Maybe you’re thinking: “It’s built into a car, it has to be safe!”. Unfortunately, that is not at all the case.
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