Appointments for a Driving Assessment are made by return of a completed application form. Drivers would normally have either a valid Provisional or Full UK Licence. However, in certain circumstances an off-road assessment may be appropriate when a driver or potential driver does not have a licence. The DVLA occasionally refer drivers with a ‘Provisional Disability Assessment Licence’ which is valid for assessment purposes only. Some drivers licences may have expired, however, providing the DVLA have confirmed that they have continuing cover to drive while medical enquiries are being carried out (Section 88 Cover), they may apply to the Centre for an on-road assessment.
Some clients are referred to us by Motability or the DVLA, who will pay for the assessments. However, many people refer themselves, or are referred by a healthcare professional e.g. their GP. Fees are applicable, however, a client can have a subsidised rate if they download the healthcare professional referral form and arrange for it to be completed. Please let us know, when sending in the application form, if the referral is to be made by a healthcare professional.
We strongly advise that you either arrange for someone to bring you to the assessment or arrange alternative transport.
We have a small fleet of assessment vehicles including standard manual and automatic transmission vehicles. All are fitted with dual controls for safety purposes (ours and yours).
We have several vehicles with specific adaptations for you to try should you need to.
We provide most of our assessments at our premises in Fishponds, Bristol, however, we also provide outreach services at the following locations:
· Sparkford (Haynes Motor Museum)
· Weymouth (Fire Station)
You can request an assessment at the location most convenient for you, but please bear in mind that there is often a long waiting list for all our outreach services and some types of assessment can only be provided at the Bristol Centre.
You should allow around 2 hours in total to complete the assessment process which
consists of the following:
The assessment team (an Occupational Therapist and a Driving Advisor) will gather information from you which is relevant to driving prior to the practical part of the assessment. Your driving licence will be checked, and details will be sought about your medical history along with the circumstances leading up to your referral. If appropriate, physical movements for driving purposes will be evaluated and adaptation options considered and discussed.
Your eyes will be checked using Keystone eye screening equipment and you will be asked to read a number plate at the minimum legal distance (20m). Please consider visiting an optician before your assessment for confirmation that your vision meets the standard for driving, for both visual acuity and visual fields (peripheral vision).
It will not be possible to drive on the day if you are unable to read a number plate at the required distance.
For some assessments, it is useful to undertake office based cognitive, psychometric testing before the drive. This part of the assessment is important when there are concerns about a driver’s cognition (thinking skills) or if a particular diagnosis may have an impact on these abilities. The tests used have been chosen with driving in mind and are relevant to that task. They are conducted by the Occupational Therapist. Even if a driver performs poorly with this part of the assessment, the practical on-road part of the assessment will take place.
If appropriate, your reaction times will be measured using electronic equipment fitted to a static car in the Centre’s garage.
Every effort will be made to make you feel comfortable and at ease driving one of the Centre’s vehicles. All are dual controlled for safety and insurance purposes. We have both manual and automatic cars, with a variety of vehicle adaptations if required. We understand that the car will be unfamiliar to you, so time is allocated at the beginning of the on-road assessment for you to get used to the car.
The drive will progress onto a pre-planned assessment route and will last approximately forty-five minutes. The route is designed to include normal day-to- day challenges such as dual carriageways, roundabouts, urban high street situations along with some very straightforward manoeuvring. The assessment will include an emergency stop exercise, but does not include Motorway driving.
Throughout the driving assessment, the Driving Advisor will give clear directional instructions. The Team understand that many of our clients are not familiar with the area.
There will not be a Highway Code test as such, however, you will be expected to keep to the speed limits and react to all road traffic signs and markings appropriately.
The aim of the drive is to support the driver in continuing to drive or return to driving. Many experienced drivers over the years develop habits both good and bad, providing these habits or driving styles are safe, this will not have an impact on the outcome of the assessment.
Advice and recommendations will be given verbally following the drive. The Driving Advisor and the Occupational Therapist will invite you (and anyone who accompanies you to the assessment if you wish) to discuss the team’s findings.
However, not all assessments are completed on the same day. You may be asked to come back following some driving lessons or visual field testing to complete the assessment.
We do ask for full payment of the fee with your application form. If you are referred by your Doctor or a healthcare professional, the fee may be subsidised.
Full refunds will be given only if you contact us to cancel your appointment more than 5 working days in advance.
Partial refunds will be given if you cancel with insufficient notice, but we are able to fill your slot.
No refund is due if you cancel with less than 5 working days notice and we cannot fill your slot.
Please note that our reports cannot be used for medico-legal purposes, or litigation.