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Frequently Asked Questions

The following is a list of frequently asked questions we receive at Southern Mobility Assessment & Tuition Specialists. Should you have a question that is not included, please feel free to contact us.

Older Drivers

Q. At what age does a person have to stop driving?
A. There is no age limit when to stop driving, however one must submit a medical report form D501 to renew their licence if they are 70 years or more. More details are available on Licence& Insurance.

Q. Do older drivers have to resit their driving test at a certain age?
A. No, Generally older drivers are a category of safe drivers, and driver testing of older drivers conducted in other countries has not had a direct effect on road safety. Moreover, once involved in a crash, older people have a higher risk of severe injury or death due to their increased frailty.
A more strategic procedure would be to identify “categories of older driver at increased risk” due to illness/disability/ aging difficulties, and develop a screening process to identify and assess same. For more information please see Driving Assessments.
References:
www.austroads.com Seniors-older people/drivers
Langford, J. & Koppel, S. (2006)‘ The case for and against mandatory age-based assessment of older drivers’, Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour, 9 (5), pp353-362

Q. Do older drivers drive too slowly thereby causing them to be unsafe?
A. No. Everyone drives at a different pace at various times, depending on their mood. Additionally we have to adjust our speeds and allow extra time for large vehicles, slow moving vehicles, traffic congestion, learner drivers, adverse weather, night driving etc. However where a driver cannot maintain reasonable progress and avoid undue hesitancy there may be underlying factors that should be checked. Consult your G.P. for advice. For more information go to Driving Assessments.

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Vehicle Insurance

Q. Having been diagnosed with a disability/illness should I inform my car insurance company?
A. Yes. A driver having acquired a disability/illness are obliged to inform their vehicle insurance company/broker of the changes in their health before returning/continuing to drive.

Q. If I have a disability/illness will I be charged extra for my car insurance?
A. No. A driver with a disability should not be charged extra, nor refused a quote solely based on their disability. Should you experience discrimination of this nature contact The Irish Insurance Federation And Insurance Information Services, Insurance House, Molesworth Street, Dublin 2. Phone 01 6761820 www.iif.ie.

For further information see Licence & Insurance.

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Parking Card

Q. How do I apply for a disabled persons parking card and what other financial assistance am I entitled to with regard to driving?
A. See Financial Supports for full information.

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Driving With A Disability

Q. I recently acquired a physical disability, have a full licence, had my car adapted and I am ready to return driving. Do I have to resit my driving test?
A. No.

Q. I recently returned driving using a steering wheel spinner due to a left hand disability. I informed my insurance company and forwarded the necessary information. Should I inform my licensing authority?
A. Yes. Obtain a medical report form D501 from your licensing authority, complete and return. They may code your licence so that the licence corresponds with the necessary adaptations.
Where one acquires a disability/illness but does not require an adaptation, inform your licensing authority only when the licence requires renewal.

Q. Having acquired a brain injury is it possible to return driving ?
A. Yes, but brain injuries are complex and individual and not everyone may return successfully to driving. For further information go to Driving After A Brain Injury, and Driving Assessment.

Q. My son wishes to learn to drive and has a disability requiring him to use adaptations, who do I contact to arrange lessons?
A. First recommendation is choose a driving instructor that is an RSA -ADI, that is Road Safety Authority Approved Driving Instructor.
Secondly, if he has his own adapted car he can choose an instructor of his choice. However an instructor that has received training in teaching people with a disability to drive would be an advantage, contact Southern Mobility Assessment & Tuition Specialists or The Disabled Drivers Association Of Ireland 094 9364054 for a list of certified instructors.
Thirdly if he does not have his own adapted car and wishes to use an adapted driving school vehicle go to Driving Courses for a full list available.

Q. I am a wheelchair user and cannot transfer to the driver’s seat without assistance, which reduces my independence. Is it possible to have a vehicle adapted where I can drive from the wheelchair?
A. Yes it is possible to drive from the wheelchair. Costs, vehicle types and sizes vary, contact us or an adaptation company for more information.

Q. My difficulty is that I am short in stature and cannot reach the pedals of a car when I sit in the driver's seat. Is it possible for me to have an adaptation to compensate for this?
A. Yes. There are a few choices, one includes pedal extensions. If necessary the seat may also be adapted. Contact your local adaptation company or have an assessment and choose.

Q. I have no arms but full mobility and strength in my lower limbs. Is it possible for me to have an adaptation and be able to drive?
A. Yes it is possible. One option is a left foot disc on the floor for steering, automatic transmission, secondary controls switch operated from the headrest or on the floor, are a few ideas. But an assessment would be necessary to decide your complete options.

Q. I have reduced strength in my upper limbs, is it possible to have power steering lightened further?
A. Yes, depending on the make and model of your vehicle.

Q. I acquired a brain injury as a result of a road traffic accident, experiencing speech difficulties, and a left side paralysis. Is it possible to return driving?
A. Yes it may be possible. Go to Driving Assessment for a complete guide.

Q. My husband having acquired a lower limb disability will be returning to driving soon, purchasing an automatic vehicle with hand controls, and steering wheel spinner. Will I be able to drive the car as regular myself?
A. Yes. Most adapted vehicles can be driven as regular, and where some adaptations need to be removed they can be quick release.

Q. Is it possible to drive a car with vision in only one eye?
A.Yes, on examination and permission of a registered medical practitioner, or registered ophthalmic optician and meeting the requirements set down on the eyesight report D502.

Q. I am a wheelchair user and would love to return biking again, is that possible?
A. Yes, the world's first series-manufactured high performance motorcycle that can be driven from a wheelchair is now in mass production. Go to www.martinconquest.com

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Passengers with A Disability

Q. Due to my husband’s disability I do all the driving and recently getting in and out of the car is becoming more difficult for him. What’s available to assist him as I am not able to lift as well as I did before?
A. There are several options, seat rail extensions, swivel seat, electric hoists etc. You may go to the Links page, click on adaptation companies and view what is available to give you a visual idea of what is available. Contact an adaptation company and get advice on your options, prices etc. Most importantly do not choose an adaptation without first testing it and satisfying your needs. Your adaptation company should be able to arrange a test model.

Q. Is there any financial assistance towards the cost of a vehicle and adaptations for use by a passenger with a disability?
A. Yes. Go to financial Supports. Or www.revenue.ie , scroll down and click on Persons With a Disability, scroll and click on Vehicle Registration Tax- VRT 7. and receive full details. Or contact the Revenue Commissioners, Disabled Drivers Section, Monaghan, by phoning 047-828- 00 and ask for a copy of the VRT 7 booklet which has full details.

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Driving Assessment

Q. Who pays for my driving assessment?
A. The fee for an assessment is paid by the applicant. A receipt is issued on payment.

Q. Is a driving assessment compulsory?
A. No. However a registered medical practitioner may not recommend and / or permit one to drive without having their driving comprehensively assessed. Also, more drivers are now wishing to have an assessment to reassure themselves they are safe to return /continue driving.

Q. What is the pass/failure percentage of the on-road driving ability assessments?
A. While a confidential record of every assessment is stored and used for research purposes, a driving ability assessment is not a pass/fail test. It is to look at one’s physical strengths and mobility, eyesight, cognitive/perceptual ability to drive a vehicle in safety and comfort for themselves and other road users.

Q. I am an occupational therapist and wish to refer a gentleman for an on-road driving ability assessment who’s pre driving skills assessment was successful. Is it possible for me to accompany you on the on-road drive so as to acquire more experience and understanding of the complete procedure?
A. Yes, provided the gentleman is in agreement. This is a procedure I recommend so you may compare the theory and practical results, encouraging more research, thereby improving services.

For further information see Driving Assessments

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Language

Q. What is a WAV?
A. WAV is a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle. A vehicle specially adapted/constructed to enable a wheelchair used to enter and exit the vehicle while in the wheelchair.

Q. What is cognition and perception?
A. Cognition is the act of knowing including attention, creativity, memory, perception, problem solving, behaviour, co-ordinating and sequencing.
Perception is the means by which we organise and interpret incoming information by what we see, feel, hear etc. It includes visual perception, distance, motion, shape/size, figure ground, constancy.

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