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Derby DrivAbility

Derby DrivAbility is a specialist NHS service primarily offering a medical 'fitness to drive' assessment service.

Often, due to change in a person’s health, their thinking skills can alter which can in turn affect safe driving. For example, speed of thinking may slow, planning and judgements can become impaired, and accurate decisions are not made as evidenced by the inability interact safely with other road users. Where physical abilities alter we can explore the suitability of alternative driving controls.

We assess a person’s ability to:

  • Learn to drive 
    For example, for people with conditions such as cerebal palsy, learning disabilities etc
  • Return to driving
    For example, after an illness or injury such as a stroke, head injury, brain tumour or schizophrenia
  • Continue to drive
    For example, if there is a diagnosis of dementia or where the driver is simply in their later years

We will always consider if adaptations or driving lessons can help the driver regain a safe level of control and skill.

As a centre we are fully accredited by Driving Mobility and supported financially by both the NHS and the Department for Transport.  Two of our key stake holders are the DVLA and Motability.

Driving assessments

Driving assessments

We can only do a driving assessment if we are sure that the driver:

  • has a valid driving licence (full or provisional) or section 88 cover to drive.
  • can read a number plate from 20 metres
  • has no debarring or restricted medical condition (see DVLA medical standards)


The interview

An occupational therapist will find out more about your health and driving experience  – past and present -  your physical abilities, vision, and ask you to do some simple thinking skill (cognitive) tests. We will also assess the potential need for adaptations.  We do not ask any theory questions to full licence holders as we expect the driver to show their knowledge and understanding whilst driving. We will ask learner drivers some theory questions to gain an idea of their ability to pass the theory tests.


The drive

Using one of our vehicles, we will assess the person's driving ability. Our cars all have dual controls (only used if essential!) with our ADI assessor in the front seat and an occupational therapist observing from the back. We use quiet suburban roads inntially to allow the driver to get used to the car and build their confidence and we then explore their abilities over a wider variety of roads on a drive drive lasting approximately one hour in total.  Breaks can be taken as needed.


Static assessment rig

Sometimes we choose to use our static assessment rig to explore the persons thinking skills or control options.



Following our assessment we will feedback our findings. This may be that you can continue driving, you need to have driving lessons, or you should cease driving.

Access assessments

These cover issues surrounding getting in/out car; seating and wheelchair loading. Often these assessments are just for passengers but they can also be necessary for some drivers.

We will generally speak to you before booking these assessments to ascertain exactly what you are looking to achieve and to explain what we can do to help.  There may a little delay in arranging an appointment when we have to arrange for another company to come in and demonstrate equipment to you.

If travel to the centre is an issue, once we have established your needs we will try and signpost you to companies that may be able to come and see you at home.  We will be happy to speak to you subsequently to give ongoing guidance.


Special seating clinic

Our occupational therapists run clinics for youngsters with special seating needs and for those with challenging behaviours where special harnesses or alternative solutions are required.

These require an NHS/social services referral using the SSC referral.


Non driving assessments

These are offered to drivers who have no licence.

It may be that their licence has been revoked or that they surrendered it when unwell or because it has expired and they are not sure whether it is appropriate to re-apply for their licence back and/or need supportive evidence is required to share with the DVLA.  Some young adults and their parents also like to undertake such an assessment to gain guidance on suitability to drive before applying for their first licence.

This assessment will consist of an interview; standardised cognitive assessment eg the Rookwood battery where appropriate, an assessment using the static assessment rig and for potential provisional licence holders theory test questions.

Before applying for this assessment please contact us to discuss your case.

Contact us

Telephone: 01332 371 929