The law requires you to tell the DVLA about any condition that may affect your ability to drive safely
The advice given by the DVLA about AS is that:
- If your AS does not affect your safe driving you do not need to tell the DVLA about your AS
- If your AS affects your safe driving you will need to tell the DVLA
- If you are unsure whether your AS affects your safe driving you will need to check with your GP or rheumatologist who will be able to advise you
The DVLA would typically consider that AS was affecting your safe driving if you need adaptations to your car to be able todrive safely such as extra mirrors, or if you felt you could only safely drive a car with automatic transmission.
Help with Safe Driving
The Forum of Mobility Centres are a network of 17 independent organisations covering England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, who offer professional, high quality information, advice and assessment to people with a medical condition which might cause issues with safe driving.
The aim of the mobility centres are to give help and advice on driving safely NOT to stop people driving. You should be aware that, with the appropriate adaptations and driving techniques, even someone with a completed fused neck can be assessed as safe to drive.
For people with AS, the mobility centres might offer advice on fitting additional mirrors, driving an automatic rather than a manual and on devices to help with getting in and out of cars. The Forum of Mobility Centres has some advice on their website on the vehicle adaptations available, including information on additional mirrors.
You can be referred for an assessment by the DVLA or you can call your local centre to make an appointment for an assessment. If you are referred by the DVLA you will not be charged but if you contact them independently there is a charge.
Advice on driving without pain
The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy have produced a guide to driving more comfortably. You can download the guide. We have also ordered copies of the guide for the NASS office so do give us a call if you'd like a free copy posting out to you.
The Motability Scheme enables disabled people to lease a new car, scooter or powered wheelchair by exchanging their mobility allowance.
Even if you don't drive yourself, you can apply for a car as a passenger and propose two other people as your drivers.
You can apply if you have 12 months or more of your DLA or PIP award remaining. If your award is not renewed during the full length of your chosen scheme your car will need to be returned.
Through the contract hire scheme you can lease a new car supplied by a Motability accredited dealer for at least three years. Insurance, routine servicing and breakdown assistance are included. You may need to pay for the fitting and removal of any adaptations. At the end of the period, the car is returned to Motability Operations who operate the car schemes under contract to Motability.
Blue Badge Scheme
The Blue Badge scheme allows people with severe walking disabilities to park in restricted areas.
All the information you need on applying for a Blue Badge can be found on the Gov.UK website.
There's no legal right to appeal if you don't meet the eligibility conditions for a blue badge. But the Department for Transport does recommend that local authorities have an appeals procedure in place. If you think you have been incorrectly or unfairly refused a blue badge, you can ask for a review of the decision.
You should be given a detailed written explanation of the reasons why your application was refused. You should explain to your local authority why you believe its decision is wrong. Let them have any evidence to support your case.