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Returning to Driving

If you want to return to driving following a disability or illness, follow this link.

How to obtain a Provisional Licence

To obtain a provisional licence follow the follow procedure

Many thousands of people with disabilities are driving standard production cars adapted as necessary to suit their particular needs. There are a few simple guidelines to follow to help you apply for a licence for the first time.


First, apply to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) for a provisional driving licence. This is obtained by filling in form D1 giving details of your disability or medical condition on the appropriate section of the form. The form is obtainable from main Post Offices, or it can be downloaded from the Direct Gov website http://www.direct.gov.uk/motoring.

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When the DVLA has received this form, they will usually send a "medical-in-confidence" form, which asks for more details of your disability or medical condition and seeks your permission to contact your doctor or specialist for a report to a Medical Adviser at the DVLA. A Medical Adviser will consider the report and will usually recommend issuing you with a provisional licence. If he or she is uncertain of the effect your disability may have on your ability to drive safely, you may be requested to attend a medical examination by an independent doctor in your area or by one of the DVLA's own medical specialists.


Inevitably, the process of medical checking and handling at DVLA takes a while, so if you want to start driving as soon as you are legally able, it is wise to apply for your provisional driving licence 2 or 3 months before this date. The minimum age for driving a car is 17, unless you receive the higher rate mobility component of the Disability Living Allowance, in which case you can start to drive at 16.


The length of time for the licence is issued, will depend upon the medical facts. A licence could be restricted to 1, 2 or 3 years for certain disabilities.


Once you have your provisional licence, you can start learning to drive. If you have a physical disability, you may need to learn in an adapted car and many driving instructors now have cars with the more simple modifications. Mobility Centres can give you advice on adaptations to a car following assessment and may be able to give you a list of Approved Driving Instructors in your county with adapted cars or experience of working with people with disabilities.


If you have a condition that may affect your ability to learn to drive, such as Cerebral Palsy, Dyspraxia, or Autism, learning to drive may take longer and may not be possible at all. In these instances, it is important to have a structured course of driving tuition with an instructor who you feels understands your needs. A few conditions, such as uncontrolled epilepsy, may prevent you from holding a driving licence. You can find details on the Direct Gov website by clicking here for an, alphabetical list of medical conditions that may affect your ability to drive.


You will be required to take a theory test, which includes hazard perception, before you can take the practical driving test.

People who may have difficulty with the theory test, including the hazard perception part of the test, would be advised to consider taking these parts prior to embarking on driving tuition.


Provisional licences issued to people with disabilities normally give cover to drive as many vehicle categories as possible, subject to the driver being able to control the vehicles correctly. Apart from the description of entitlement, all other details on the licence will be the same as those issued to drivers who are not disabled. Once you have passed the driving test, your new licence will note any adaptations required to enable you to drive.

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