The law requires you to tell the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (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 to drive safely such as extra mirrors, or if you felt you could only safely drive a car with automatic transmission.
NASS have produced a fact sheet on how to inform the DVLA and what you should expect to happen. Click here to download the DVLA factsheet.
Help with safe driving from the Forum of Mobility Centres
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.
You can be referred for an assessment by the DVLA or you can call your local centre to make an appointment for an assessment. Do bear in mind that if you are referred by the DVLA you will not be charged but if you contact them independently there is a charge.
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 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.
The Forum of Mobility Centres has some great advice on their website on the vehicle adaptations available, including information on additional mirrors.
The Motability Scheme can help you with leasing or buying a car if you're getting the higher rate of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA).
Even if you do not drive yourself, you can apply for a car as a passenger and propose two other people as your drivers.
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.
You can apply if you have 12 months or more of your Disability Living Allowance award remaining. If your award is not renewed during the full length of your chosen scheme, your car will need to be returned.
At the end of the period, the car is returned to Motability Operations who operate the car schemes under contract to Motability.
Alternatively, hire purchase enables you to buy the car you want. This can be a new or used car. You are responsible for negotiating the purchase price of the car with the dealer and arranging insurance cover. At the end of the hire purchase agreement - which can be between three and five years - you will own the car.
To find out more about the Motability Scheme, contact Motability on the number below, or visit their website
Telephone: 0845 456 4566
The Blue Badge Scheme
The Blue Badge Scheme allows people with severe mobility problems who have difficulty using public transport to park for free. This means badge holders can park close to where they need to go. The scheme operates throughout the UK.
Click here to view or download a fact sheet giving more information on the Blue Badge scheme.
If you have any further questions about driving do contact our Information Officer.
Last reviewed: October 2011