The Department for Transport has allocated a further £40,000 to Driving Mobility’s nationwide centres so that it can offer more services for elderly and disabled people wanting to drive mobility scooters, powerchairs and adapted cars.
The charity has more than 20 Mobility Centres and over 50 Outreach Centres where people can receive wheelchair and scooter assessments from occupational therapists.
The Department for Transport provides around 70% of the funding for the Mobility Centres and their associated Outreach Centres.
In the DVLA’s Road Safety Statement for 2019, published a week ago, it revealed that the government has supplemented the current funding with an extra £40,000 for further services suitable for both elderly and disabled motorists.
The total government funding for the centres for 2019-20 is £5.92m.
The centres were originally established to assist disabled ex-servicemen but now 57% of their customers are over 65.
Their primary purpose is to promote greater equality of opportunity for disabled and older people through finding solutions to enable more people to retain mobility.
Their role is providing the clinical expertise necessary to understand the impact of a disability or medical condition on driving and aim to find a solution.
Assessments look at the impact of a medical condition or disability on using a piece of equipment. It includes an interview with the assessor with a physical ability assessment, visual assessment, cognitive assessment and a practical on-road assessment.
The DVLA says it has been pushing for greater safety among older drivers. It signposts service-users for assessment to Driving Mobility Centres. The agency launched an initiative last year encouraging drivers and mobility scooter users to take a number plate test.
A number of mobility retailers have started to introduce their own assessments and some organisations have launched their own ‘driving license-type’ certificates.
The Disability Trading Company offers customers a card when they successfully complete a scooter assessment certifying that they are capable of using their equipment safely.
Earlier this year, top dealers from the industry gathered at an exclusive roundtable event to discuss what the industry can do to improve safety among scooter users.
CLICK HERE to read the discussion on scooter safety.