Getting a driving licence and having one’s own transport is a freedom that many people take for granted. For a person with mobility impairment, the ability to drive gives them independence, it removes many of the barriers that result in social isolation and it makes them more employable. However, it is often a challenge to find a driving school that assist with driver training, as there are few schools that have an adapted vehicle or even an automatic transmission. It is often best to first buy a car and get it adapted and then get trained in that vehicle, but that is also not an easy option as it is difficult to get vehicle finance without a licence. 

For the driving schools, providing a service to people with different physical disabilities, also faces a challenge. The market is small, so it is difficult to support a dedicated automatic vehicle that has been adapted for drivers with disabilities since there are so many different types of disabilities that one vehicle cannot accommodate everyone.

Simulator training is rapidly growing in popularity in South Africa. This is seen as a lower cost and lower risk method of learning the basics of driving a vehicle, before the candidate is taken out on to the roads. Simulators can also be used for assessing an individual’s driving ability in the safety of an office instead of out on the roads, where clients are considered high risk drivers.

Rolling Inspiration has explored which driving schools are able to assist drivers with disabilities. All of the driving schools listed below have informed us that their instructors have an instructor’s certificate, which is a legal requirement. This is an industry that is very poorly regulated and as a result there is a big difference in the quality of the training that is offered. Rolling inspiration cannot guarantee the quality of the services and training offered by these driving schools, we have merely focused on sourcing schools with adapted vehicles.