Disabled Drivers and the Rules of the Road

Disabled Drivers and the Rules of the Road
Advances in design and technology in recent times have enabled many disabled motorists to get behind the wheel either for the first time or after sustaining an injury. These fantastic advances include things such as hand controls for accelerating and breaking, electronic handbrakes, left foot accelerators and joysticks for steering.

Wheelchair accessible vehicles, available from companies including Allied Mobility, allow wheelchair users to easily access automobiles whether they are a passenger or driver, which means that they no longer have to use public transportation which is not up to standard.  
Are the Vehicles Safe?
This has transformed the lives of thousands and allowed them to live independently, but do these modifications have any bearing on the rules of the road and are these adapted vehicles as safe to use as standard automobiles or do they lead to speeding and accidents? 
Learning with an Adapted Automobile
Those with a disability must undertake a driving test - the test may see the motorist drive differently, but they must still drive to the same high standard in order to pass and the test will be exactly the same. There are driving instructors that specialise in teaching disabled individuals to drive, where they will learn with adapted controls. If the user passes their test, the DVLA will arrange for a license which state that the user is only licensed to operate a modified automobile. The exact modifications will be noted, whether it is modified transmission, steering or braking and acceleration systems. Provided the motorist is driving a vehicle they are licensed to, it is no more dangerous than any other car on the road. 
Insurance
In terms of insurance, insurers are not allowed to refuse disabled motorists or charge more under the Equality Act (2010). The restrictions on the licence will be taken into account, but this does not justify a higher premium. The only reason that a higher premium will be issued is if the user is adjusting to a new disability or to cover the cost of repairing an adapted vehicle. 
Statistics
Statistics show that it is young males and those driving in a work-related capacity that are most likely to speed excessively, whilst a large percentage of accidents are due to drink driving and the motorist using their phone whilst driving. No statistics show that adapted vehicles are involved in a high percentage of speeding incidents or accidents.


It is for these reasons that the rules of the road are exactly the same for disabled motorists. Some may think that operating an automobile that has been modified is unsafe, but the user will have learnt to operate the automobile this way and be qualified to drive it on the roads.

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