Driving tests for drivers with disabilities
All drivers (including drivers with disabilities) who have been issued with 2 two-year learner driving permits are required to undergo a driving test. This requirement to undergo a driving test is compulsory. It is important to be aware of the fact that you may not apply for a third or subsequent learner permit for any category of vehicle unless you can show evidence that you have applied for a driving test. You cannot take a driving test for at least six months after getting your first learner permit (where you are not changing from a provisional licence to a learner permit).
Driver testing is carried out directly by the Road Safety Authority to a standard that complies with the EU Directive on Driving Licences. Testing is conducted out of test centres throughout the country and where possible, your test will be arranged for the centre you nominate on your application form. Waiting times vary from county to county, so it is advisable to apply for a test about 6 months before your second learner permit is due to expire. It is a standard test and all test centres use the same testing procedures. It is now possible to apply and pay for your driving test online (see "How to apply" below).
You should notify the Road Safety Authority in advance if you have a severe hearing problem or are restricted in your movements, or have any disability which could affect your driving. If you have a disability, you are asked on your driving test application form to outline whether you are driving an adapted vehicle. This will ensure that any necessary arrangements are in place for you on the day of your test.
Driving tests for disabled drivers are broadly the same as those for all other motorists. In other words, your test is to determine that you:
- Know the Rules of the Road
- Possess the knowledge and skill to drive competently in accordance with these rules
- Drive with proper regard for the safety and convenience of other road users.
Driving text examiners
Driving test examiners for drivers with disabilities have been specially trained to be aware of your needs. (They are normally supervising driving test examiners). In addition to increased awareness of special needs, they are also trained to ensure that if you are using an adapted vehicle, you are in control of your vehicle appropriately at all times and can operate your adapted vehicle safely on the road.
Facilities for drivers with special needs
Most driving test centres in Ireland are wheelchair-accessible. Given that some drivers with disabilities would prefer not to conduct the first part of their test in the centre, it is possible to have this part (i.e., the part where you are examined on your knowledge of the Rules of the Road) in your vehicle. You can of course opt to be tested on your knowledge of the Rules of the Road in the test centre if you wish. Check with your test centre in advance to see if they can facilitate wheelchair access if you would prefer this option.
If you are deaf or hard of hearing, you are allowed to have an interpreter accompany you for the first part of the test. Your interpreter cannot be your driving instructor and he or she cannot accompany you on the other practical part of your test (i.e., the test of your driving skills). The tester may show written instructions for the first part of the test and display them as appropriate; the tester may also use basic sign language. You should also note that if the vehicle you present for the test is adapted to suit a disability (e.g., it has additional controls), this will be signified on your full driving licence via code numbers.
It is possible to apply for your driving test to be conducted through Irish. (You will need to complete the Irish language version of the application form and submit as normal).
Practical test of driving skills
Before your driving test commences, the examiner will ask to see your licence and ask you to sign a form stating that the car is both roadworthy and insured. You will then have to answer some random questions from the Rules of the Road and explain how to do some technical checks. You now begin the practical test of your driving skills.
Driving testers are aware that drivers with disabilities driving adapted vehicles may take a little longer to complete some manoeuvres than other drivers. This does not mean that you are authorised to drive slower during your test; you are required to maintain the same progress on the road in line with national speed limits as all other drivers. Instead, you are allowed a little more time to demonstrate that you have adequate control of your vehicle and can drive on public roads with due regard for the safety of others. In addition, drivers who are deaf or hard of hearing are also given a little longer to go through the practical test of skills than other drivers in the event of any communication difficulties.
You will be given clear instructions throughout the test, but if you do not understand something, ask the examiner to repeat it. Do not panic if you make a mistake during the test. It may not be as serious as you think and it may not mean that you have failed.
You will be assessed in the following situations: moving off, driving in traffic, stopping, reversing round a corner, a turn about, a hill-start and parking.
The aspects of your driving that will be assessed include road positioning; overtaking and passing; anticipation and observation; use of mirrors and signals; progress; speed; compliance with traffic lights, road signs and road markings and proper use of your vehicle controls. At some point during your test, the examiner will ask you to demonstrate your hand signals unless a physical disability prevents this demonstration. You can also expect to make a number of left and right turns, encounter a roundabout and stop at traffic lights.
When you return to the test centre, you have the option of receiving your results in your vehicle or the examiner will bring you back into the examination room to give you the result. If you pass, you will be given a Certificate of Competency, which is valid for 2 years. If you fail to apply for a full licence during this 2-year period, you will have to complete your driving test again. If you fail your driving test, you will be given a detailed list of your mistakes, which you should study and rectify before you sit another driving test.
There are a number of things all drivers need to do in preparation for your driving test and a number of legal requirements you must comply with.
- You must have a current learner permit to sit a driving test
- Current motor tax and motor insurance discs and an NCT certificate (if applicable) must be displayed on the vehicle you are using
- L-plates should be displayed on the front and rear of the vehicle
- The vehicle should be roadworthy, for example, all tyres should have a minimum depth of 1.6mm - the legal thread depth limit for tyres in Ireland
- Everything should be in perfect working order, e.g., windscreen wipers, indicators, mirrors, etc. The examiner will check the indicators and brake lights before your practical driving test.
- The interior and exterior of your car should be clean.
The appropriate fee for the category of test must accompany your driving test application. The fee for motorcycles and cars is €85. For all other categories the fee is €120.
You can pay by cheque, postal order or money order. These should be crossed and made payable to the Road Safety Authority. Fees are non-refundable
How to apply
You can apply and pay for your driving test online here. You will require a credit card to do this (VISA or Mastercard). You also need to have a valid e-mail address.
Ten days notice must be given if you need to cancel your driving test; otherwise your fee is forfeit. You may cancel two appointments without forfeiting your fee or having to make a new application.