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Obtaining a Disabled Persons Driver’s Licence in South Africa

  • Tips/Guides-Tips/Guides

To drive a vehicle on the road with a disability means having to overcome more than just a personal handicap but several other obstacles as well. In this guide we talk about what it entails to obtain a licence to legally drive on the roads with a disability, and also include a list of driving schools in the country that accommodate drivers with disabilities.

Person with prosthetic legs getting out of a car driver's seat.

Driver ability assessment

Before applying to take a driving test, a person with a neurological condition first has to undergo a driver ability assessment as some restrictions may apply due to certain medical conditions. This driver assessment will indicate whether the person can safely drive a vehicle and whether they will qualify for a driver’s licence or not.

Neurological conditions include: Stroke, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, Alzheimer's disease, learning disabilities, neuromuscular disorders, autism, ADD, brain tumours, cerebral palsy, to name a few.

1. Assessment aspects covered

For anyone to be able to drive safely depends on their physical ability, a perception of what is happening around them, and cognitive processing that enables them to respond and react quickly. A disability driving test is therefore essentially no different from a standard driving test.

RollingRehab is a disability driving consultancy and base their assessments on the following aspects:

  1. Physical ability to operate a vehicle’s controls
  2. Cognitive – perception, decision-making, problem-solving, multi-tasking, understanding and interpretation of the rules of the road
  3. Reaction test
  4. Visual screening
  5. Visual processing
  6. In car assessment
  7. On-road driving test

Driver’s licence procedure

According to Auto Mobility, first-time licensing procedures for persons with disabilities are exactly the same as for any other person applying for a licence. This also means that the person must hold a valid learner’s licence.

Persons who developed a disability after holding a standard licence but now require adaptations to their vehicle must request a retest at the licensing department. The process is as follows:

  1. Obtain a medical letter from their doctor or therapist that states their disability and that they are capable of driving an adapted vehicle.
  2. Provide the local licensing department with the letter.
  3. The licensing department will get permission for a retest from the Members of the Executive Council’s (MEC’s) office.
  4. Once permission is received, the licensing department will contact the person to book a practical driving test.

Once passed, the individual will be legally able but restricted to driving an adapted or automatic vehicle, whichever is applicable.

Disabled driving schools in South Africa

There are a number of driving schools that can accommodate drivers with disabilities in South Africa, most of which are located in Gauteng, Cape Town, and a handful in Kwa-Zulu Natal. 

2. Gauteng

  1. Driving Ambitions
  2. Ambitious Beginnings
  3. Thupello Driving Academy
  4. ADI (Approved Driving Instruction)
  5. Wheels on wheels
  6. Disability Driving Academy
  7. Pieter's Driving School
  8. Professional Driving Academy of SA
  9. Protea Driving School
  10. Amber Driving School

3. Cape Town

  1. Driving Ambitions - QASA
  2. Mbumba Driving School
  3. Disability Driving Academy
  4. Make it Believable (MIB)
  5. Anton and Tanya
  6. Driving School
  7. He and She Driving School

4. Kwa-Zulu Natal

  1. Driving Ambitions - QASA
  2. Dees Driving School
  3. VISH Driving School
  4. Easy Way Driving School

For the fuller list of driving schools with contact details and other useful information: RollingRehab Driving Schools 2020. Rolling Rehab helps manage the Driving Ambitions driving school under contract to The Quadpara Association of South Africa (QASA).

Useful links

“Giving back independence by helping find the best solutions for driving.”

  • Auto-Mobility – “The only motoring website for people with disabilities in South Africa”

A comprehensive hub of useful information to driving in South Africa for people with physical disabilities.  Auto-mobility addresses potential questions of drivers with disabilities, offers information on a range of vehicle adaptations, and provides advice to becoming a mobile and independent individual.

“Vehicle conversions systems for the disabled”

  • MobiDrive – Portable hand controls for disabled drivers

A proudly South African invention, this device is designed by a paraplegic, for paraplegics.

Disclaimer: This information is for educational, or entertainment purposes only. It must not be construed as advice, legal, financial, or otherwise. We do not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability, and accuracy of this information.

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