Licensing and driving for people with a disability

This information is relevant to people who drive with disabilities that affect their physical ability to drive. Disabilities may be caused by an amputation, an injury or a congenital defect.

Disabilities can also result from medical conditions such as stroke, arthritis or multiple sclerosis. So a person with a disability refers to anyone with physical limitations, regardless of the cause.

Driving with a temporary physical disability

Disabilities such as a broken arm or leg may not prevent you from driving, but you need to make sure that you are able to drive safely. For example, even if you are permitted to use the affected limb, a plaster cast may make it difficult for you to control a vehicle. Seek your doctor’s advice on whether you should drive and how the cast will affect your ability to operate the vehicle’s controls.

Driving with a permanent physical disability

Current driver licence and learner permit holders

Most people with a physical disability can be issued with a driver licence, and those who had a licence before they had a disability can usually continue to drive. A person with a physical disability can drive if they are assessed as being safe to drive.

Find out how to report a medical condition.

Applying for a learner permit or a driver licence

To get a learner permit or a driver licence, a person with a disability is required to meet the same requirements as a person who has no disability.

However, a person with a disability will need to provide a medical report that provides information to VicRoads on the nature and extent of the disability, and to ensure that there are no other medical concerns that may prevent the person from driving safely.

The learner period allows you to try various adaptive equipment to determine what best suits your condition.

When you get your driver licence, it will be annotated to show any modifications required for your vehicle, or motorcycle, so that you can drive it legally.

Some examples of disabilities and how they are managed include the following.

Impairment to, or loss of, foot or leg

The driver needs to show that they can reach and safely operate all foot controls such as brake, clutch and accelerator pedals. Pedals can be modified or altered if required. When neither leg can be used, hand controls are required.

Impairment to, or loss of, hand or arm

The driver needs to show that they can reach and operate all hand controls, grip the steering wheel and turn it through the full range of movement. Driving a car with manual transmission requires both arms. A driver with one arm may be able to drive a car with automatic transmission provided they can reach and operate all controls. A steering aid on the steering wheel may be required, and power steering may be necessary.

Reduced neck movement

Additional mirrors can enable the driver to view the side and rear of the vehicle and surrounding traffic. VicRoads may also require you to have an occupational therapy driver assessment to determine your fitness to drive.

 

Can I drive with vehicle modifications and prosthetic aids?

If you hold a current learner permit you may learn to drive any type of vehicle, including a modified vehicle.

If you hold a current driver licence and want to learn to drive a modified vehicle (that is not a probationary prohibited vehicle) you must be accompanied by a driver with a non-probationary licence who has held their licence for two years or more. It is advisable to display a “Driver Under Instruction” plate on the vehicle. These plates are 15 cm x 15 cm with black writing on a yellow background.

As disabilities vary between people, modifications must be appropriate to meet the needs of the individual driver. Occupational therapists specialising in driver assessment can advise what modifications or aids you may need and where the vehicle modifications can be fitted.

Find out about occupational therapy driver assessment.

Typical vehicle modifications include a spinner aid which is fitted to the steering wheel for drivers with an impairment to, or who have lost one arm, and left foot accelerators for those who have an impairment to, or who have lost, their right leg.

If you have a conditional licence related to the need for vehicle modifications you will only be able to legally drive a car or motorcycle with the modifications that are designed to accommodate your disability.

Unless you have workers compensation insurance or TAC insurance you will have to pay for the cost of any modifications made to your car or motorcycle.

How can I get a Disabled Parking Permit?

You will need to apply to your local council for a Disabled Parking Permit. See disability parking for further information.

What if my disability improves?

If your physical disability improves you can have your situation reviewed by VicRoads Medical Review. If appropriate, the modifications to your vehicle and the information on your learner permit or driver licence can be removed or updated.

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