Driving Lessons & Practical Test (Long Post)

  BigAl127 21:56 19 May 2007

Does anyone know if a person of large build (with a disability) can be failed on their driving test, because the examiner considers them a risk of being sat too close to the steering wheel?

The reason I ask, my 17yr old daughter was learning to drive in a manual car, but struggles a little with the clutch because of her disability, and her instructor had said she might be better in an automatic, but he was willing to carry on teaching her in a manual car, no problem.

She had decided to try in an automatic car, and had a hour and a half lesson booked today. The instructor picked her up,and drove to a quiet estate. They swapped seats and the instructor said it would be pointless teaching her,as an examiner would fail her straight away for being too close to the steering wheel, and duly drove her back home.

There was space between the steering wheel and my daughters body, but she didn't even get as far as putting her seat belt on.

So does anyone know of any laws or anyone being failed on sitting too close?

  WhiteTruckMan 22:16 19 May 2007

but consider an airbag going off if you are sat too close. I would consider looking for someone with an adjustable steering wheel. Ask yourself if you personally are happy with your daughter driving in such a vulnerable position.


  BigAl127 22:40 19 May 2007

I obviously wasn't there at the time, and can understand what you're saying, and that safety is of paramount importance.

But both cars are Peugeot 206's, only difference, one is manual the other auto.

My daughter feels comfortable in both cars, but we've got one instructor saying there's no problem, and the other one saying there is.

I learnt in a small car many years ago, but have drove big cars, vans and minibuses since.

  BigAl127 22:48 19 May 2007

My other thought was, as soon as he picked her up, if he thought there might be a problem, why not say so straight away.

He actually drove to an area 10 mins away, let her get in the driving seat, then said there's no point carrying on, and drove her back home.

  WhiteTruckMan 22:57 19 May 2007

at all times I'm not aware of specific legislation, but I have seen sights that cause me to shake myhead. things like people so obese that they have to shove the seat all the way back and tilt it back as well just to get behind the wheel. As a result they have to permanantly hunch their shoulders foreward just to reach the wheel. Funny how they always seem to drive tiny cars as well.

But its a control issue. they should be adjusted to be manipulated correctly at all times. Its not directly a size issue though. Cars-especially cheap ones-are made to be driven by people as near to a theoretical 'norm' as possible. Hence someone who is 7 foot tall will have just as much trouble as one who is 4 foot tall. Standard vehicles can be adapted to just about anything. Its all a matter of cost...


  spuds 23:04 19 May 2007

Seems very strange, but the airbag going off might be considered dangerous due to close proximity. Why not check with your local test centre or the DVLA. You could also try one of the franchise companies like the Automobile Association/BSM for their comments and advice.

A chap that I know is rather large in size, and he usually drives larger vehicles because of limited space in smaller vehicles. But having said that,he as a full driving licence and is able to get insurance, in fact he is a car trader!.

  BigAl127 23:20 19 May 2007

Thanks for your replies.

I intend ringing the local test centre on Monday to clarify the situation.

Obviously my main concern is my daughters safety and that of other road users and pedestrians.

But if we've got two instructors with differing opinions, what's the chance of two examiners having differing opinions on a test. I.E. One examiner would let the test proceed, whereas the other wouldn't.

I'm aware that all tests should be conducted to a certain standard, and that all examiners are checked regularly by a Chief Examiner. But instructors are regularly checked also, and yet we have this situation before us.

  laurie53 09:10 20 May 2007

If your daughter is registered disabled (or even if she's not) there are many conversions available for a vast number of disabilities.

There is also help and advice available from the various disabled organisations.

  simon_lambert 12:36 20 May 2007

The instructor is right about the airbag, they are most effective at the correct distance, even then it feels like you are being punched in the face by Mike Tyson when it goes off.

  De Marcus™ 13:24 20 May 2007

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

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