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Driving

Driving and using public transport are important parts of life for many people. 

If you drive, you need to let the vehicle licencing agency know that you have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.  If MS affects your ability to drive or to use public transport, there is help available.

Driving

If you have a driving licence, you must tell the licensing agency that you have been diagnosed with MS as it is a 'notifiable' condition. 

In England, Scotland or Wales you need to tell the DVLA (Drivers and Vehicle Licensing Agency). If you live in Northern Ireland you need to inform the DVA (Driver and Vehicle Agency). They will send a questionnaire to assess any impact of MS on your driving performance, and may need to contact your doctor about your condition. If there is no medical reason to prevent driving, you will be allowed to keep your licence. Your licence may be changed to a short-term medical driving licence which will need to be renewed every three to five years. If you need to drive medium-sized vehicles such as minibuses (category C1 and D1) let the DVLA or DVA know this straight away. This is because category C1 and D1 vehicles are not automatically added to medical driving licences and there may be a delay before these vehicle types are added back on to your licence. 

You will also need to tell your car insurance provider about your MS as it will be a requirement in the terms and conditions of your policy. 

Some medications may impair your ability to drive. It is illegal to drive if you are unfit to do so because of legal or illegal drugs. These include cannabis, amphetamines, and various medicines derived from opioids, even if you have a prescription for them. There is a full list on the government website for driving and the law.

You should talk to your doctor if you are unsure whether your medications might impair your driving. You may need to take your medications in a different way to allow you to continue to drive.

If you need adaptations to the controls of your car, the law requires that you inform the DVLA about this. Your driving license will need to be updated with the codes specific to the type of adaptations you have installed. You may also want or need advice or driving lessons in using any new controls as some types of controls require passing specific driving tests. 

You should also inform the licensing agency if the impact of your MS gets worse. If you've stopped driving and given up your licence because of your MS and your symptoms improve, to the point where you can start driving again, you can contact the DVLA or DVA and ask to have your licence reinstated. 

Exemption from vehicle tax

If you receive the higher rate of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or the enhanced rate mobility component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) you can apply for free vehicle tax.  If you get the standard rate mobility component of PIP you can apply for a 50% reduction in vehicle tax.

More on exemption from vehicle tax on the Gov.uk website

Blue Badge parking scheme

The Blue Badge scheme provides parking benefits for people with a disability who travel either as a driver or a passenger.  The scheme is administered by local councils.

More on the Blue Badge scheme on the Gov.uk website

Adapted vehicles

Driving Mobility

Previously known as the Forum of Mobility Centres, this is a network of independent organisations who offer information, advice and assessment to individuals who have a medical condition that which may affect the ability to drive or use a motor vehicle. The centres are listed in the map of MS services.

Motability

A national UK charity that helps people in receipt of the higher rate Mobility Component of DLA (Disability Living Allowance) or PIP (Personal Independence Payment) to lease an adapted vehicle.

Motoring with multiple sclerosis

Information on choosing, adapting and using a car from Rica, a charity providing consumer research and information for people with a disability.

Public transport for people with a disability

The law says bus and coach drivers must give reasonable assistance to disabled people. This could include helping them get on and off the bus or coach, but it doesn’t mean physically lifting passengers or heavy mobility equipment. If you will need help to get on and off a coach, you should ask for this when you book your ticket.

In many areas, including London and other large cities, licenced taxis must be wheelchair accessible. In other areas, you can find out if there are wheelchair accessible taxis through your local council. Taxi drivers must not discriminate against disabled people, and can be expected to make reasonable adjustments to their service in order to help you. 

Gov.uk

Information on travelling by train, plane, buses and coaches and taxis.

Last updated: March 2018
Last reviewed: September 2015
This page will be reviewed within three years

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