Driving tests for drivers with disabilities

Introduction

All drivers (including drivers with disabilities) must take a driving test after they have had two 2-year learner driving permits. This driving test is compulsory. Before you apply for a third or subsequent learner permit for any category of vehicle, you must show evidence that you have applied, for or recently failed, a driving test.

You cannot take a driving test for at least six months after being issued with your first learner permit. However, the six-month wait may not apply where you are updating a provisional licence (now discontinued) to a learner permit.

Driver testing is carried out directly by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) to a standard that complies with the EU Directive on Driving Licences. Testing takes place at test centres throughout the country. 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 six months before the expiry of your second learner permit. The test is standard and all test centres use the same testing procedures. You can apply and pay for your driving test online (see ‘How to apply’ below).

Before your test, you should notify the RSA if you have a severe hearing problem, 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 state whether you are driving an adapted vehicle. This will ensure 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 are normally supervisory (senior) examiners. They are specially trained to be aware of your 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 it safely on the road.

Facilities for drivers with special needs

Most driving test centres in Ireland are wheelchair accessible, but you should check with your test centre in advance. If you would prefer not to take the first part of your test (on the Rules of the Road) at the centre, you may be allowed to take it in your vehicle. You can of course, choose 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 cannot accompany you on the practical part of your test (the test of your driving skills). The tester may show you written instructions for the first part of the test, and may also use basic sign language. If the vehicle you present for the test is adapted to suit a disability (for example, if it has additional controls), this will be shown on your full driving licence as code numbers.

Anyone can apply for their driving test to be conducted through Irish. To do this, complete the Irish language version of the application form and submit it in the usual way.

Practical test of driving skills

Before your driving test starts, the examiner will ask to see your licence and ask you to sign a form stating that the car is 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 in adapted vehicles may take a little longer than other drivers to complete some manoeuvres. This does not mean you are authorised to drive slower during your test; you need to maintain the same progress on the road as all other drivers in line with national speed limits.

However, 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. If you are deaf or hard of hearing and have communication difficulties during your test, you will also be given a little longer than other drivers to go through the practical test of skills.

The examiner will give you clear instructions throughout the test, but if you do not understand something, ask them 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 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
  • 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 you from doing so. 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 can ask to receive your results in your vehicle. Otherwise, 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 two years. Once you have this certificate, you can apply for a full driving licence. If you fail to apply for a full licence during the two-year period, you will have to take your driving test again.

If you fail your driving test, you will be given a detailed list of your mistakes. You should study the list and work on the mistakes before you sit another driving test.

Rules

All drivers need to do certain things in preparation for the driving test and must comply with the following legal requirements:

  • You must have a current learner permit to sit a driving test.
  • The vehicle you are using must display current motor tax and motor insurance discs. If applicable, it must also display an NCT certificate .
  • 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 thread depth of 1.6mm – the legal limit for tyres.
  • Everything should be in perfect working order (such as windscreen wipers, indicators and mirrors). The examiner will check the indicators and brake lights before your practical driving test begins.
  • The interior and exterior of your car should be clean.

Rates

You must pay the appropriate fee for the category of test when you submit your driving test application. The fee for motorcycles and cars is €85. For all other categories the fee is €120.

You can pay online or 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. You will require a debit or credit card and an email address.

You can download an application form for a driving test (pdf). You can also obtain a copy from your local Motor Taxation Office. The correct fee must accompany your completed application form.

If you need to cancel your driving test, you must give 10 days’ notice or you will lose your fee. If you cancel more than two appointments, you will lose your fee and must make a new application.

Where to apply

Road Safety Authority (RSA)

Moy Business Park
Primrose Hill
Ballina
Co Mayo
Ireland

Tel: 096 25000
Locall: 1890 506 080
Fax: 096 25252

Page edited: 23 May 2019