To drive or not to drive?

Today a school friend and supporter of this blog asked me a question on Facebook, when I was writing the reply I thought it would make a good topic for tonight’s blog, thank you Alison. She asked me how long they envisaged before I would be able enough to drive again. She also guessed that the DVLA Doctors would have to have a say because of my medication. I am going to break my situation into two groups but I will point out that from a physical point of view I am able to drive an automatic car now.

DLA (Disability Living Allowance)

To be able to get a car through Motability you have to be on the highest rate of the mobility component and have 12 months of DLA left, of which I have both. The problem is that because my care needs have increased I have had to reapply which means I have to wait for the decision. I don’t expect to lose the highest rate of the mobility component but they have surprised me before and stopped all my DLA Allowance! It could take up to 11 weeks to get a decision and of course they will have written to my Consultant and GP. With the festive period stuck in the middle and letters going backwards and forwards we could be looking at longer than 11 weeks.

Medication

This is the trickier area of the two. One of the many drugs I take is Morphine which I am slowly coming off of. It is not against the law to drive while on Morphine but obviously under the Drink Drug Law it is illegal to drive if the drugs effect your ability to drive safely. One of the ladies I meet at the amputee gym also said you can drive while taking medication including Morphine as long as you are not affected by them. I would obviously never put myself, or more importantly, anyone else at risk by driving while feeling tired or drowsy. So while this all sounds very positive I can’t help but feel worried about driving. My concern is that if I had an accident and it wasn’t my fault or a 50/50, when the other persons insurers see the amount of medication I am taking I can’t help thinking they would be rubbing their hands together.

Of course before I can drive I have to inform the DVLA that I am now an amputee. I am putting it off till the last minute in the hope I will be off more medication and have less to list. There is a question on the form about what medication you take and I am sure, as Alison said, that the DVLA Doctors would be able to clarify if I can drive or not. So in the meantime, like everything else as an amputee, it is a waiting game until the DLA decision comes through. It will then be in the hands of the DVLA as to whether I can drive or not. Have to make sure I am sitting comfortably, this could be a long wait!

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