When I was 15 years old I used to go to The Doncaster Wheelchair Sports Club. I played Table Tennis and Wheelchair basketball, just for fun. One evening when I was leaving, I noticed one of the basketball team getting into a car, this was the first time I realised disabled people could drive ‘real’ cars not the blue invalid cars that were prevalent in 1970’s UK. While talking about this with the school physio She informed me that disabled people were allowed to drive at 16 years old not 17. I wrote to the DVLA, who confirmed this and sent me a drivers licence application form which I filled in and a few days before my 16th birthday my driving licence arrived. Using money I’d saved up I spent £400 on a 1974 Mini (850cc automatic)
Driving lessons followed and I felt ready for my test almost straight away but my instructor made me wait, probably because was young. After 5 months of lessons I passed my test 1st time and I was let loose on the roads. The sense of freedom was amazing, even though I lived in a fairly small town there were places I’d never been because it was to far on my bike, now there were no limits.
I had some great times, made many memories, but like most things it began to get more and more difficult. In 2001 I gave up driving because I could no longer operate the hand controls on the car safely. After some soul searching I decided to quit as the thought of having an accident and hurting someone was too much.
Now, in 2017 I still have my driving licence and the technology is available. I could drive again but there’s a problem. Cost. A vehicle suitably adapted and fitted with the right driving aids would cost between £60,000-£100,000. Out of my league, but we can dream.