Did you know that disabled young people can start to learn to drive when they are 16? Read this interview with youngster Owen Clarke to find out more about joining the Motability Scheme and learning to drive.
Twenty-three-year-old Owen Clarke is a young disabled photographer from Ramsey in Cambridgeshire who has been with the Motability Scheme since he was a child.
Back in 2001, Owen’s parents were eligible to apply for a Motability Scheme car to transport five-year-old Owen whose spina bifida meant he had severe problems walking.
Some people might not realise that the Motability Scheme can help you lease a car if your child is aged three or over and the child is entitled to either the higher rate of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or the enhanced mobility component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
Having spina bifida and problems walking, Owen was receiving higher rate DLA when he joined the Scheme and now receives enhanced component of PIP. He has been with the Scheme for 20 of his 23 years, first as a child passenger but since the age of 16, as a driver.
As well as being able to qualify for a Motability Scheme car as a disabled child, Owen’s story illustrates another interesting fact about young disabled people and driving. Although non-disabled youngsters have to wait till their 17th birthday before they can start driving, the rules are different for disabled young people. They can apply for a provisional driving licence and take lessons aged 16.
For more about Owen and his Motability Scheme journey, watch this video where he shares how the Scheme has impacted his life.
More interesting still is the fact that Motability, the Charity, can help with the cost of up to 40 hours of driving lessons with a national driving school for those who meet certain eligibility requirements based on considerations like your age and the benefits you receive. As Owen met these eligibility requirements he continued his motoring journey with Motability as a learner driver. He explains:
“When I was 16 my parents found out that I was now eligible to learn to drive. As I was already a Scheme member and in full-time education, Motability the Charity would also help me with the cost of up to 40 free driving lessons with a national driving school, so I took full advantage of this by having almost the full set of lessons. The Scheme also helped me arrange a visit to a regional driving assessment centre where I got practical tips on how to make driving easier for me. These tips included using push-pull hand controls and sitting on a cushion as I am only five feet tall! I took up both these tips and now drive with hand controls and a cushion.
“My driving test itself was pretty straightforward and I passed first time. Looking back you could say learning to drive with the help of the Motability Scheme was great because it took a lot of worry out of meeting the cost of paying for lessons – something which can be expensive if you are a teenager.”
As a learner driver, the other thing Owen found to be a major benefit was the fact that the Motability Scheme covers the cost of insurance for its customers. This, as he points out, is a huge advantage as young people typically pay huge premiums sometimes running into the thousands, particularly if they live within certain areas. Owen was spared this financial pressure, leaving him free to focus on passing the test.
Having passed his test Owen, a self-confessed motor enthusiast as well as a photographer, was able to use his Motability Scheme car to visit car shows and motorsports events where he was able to photograph all sorts of action.
Owen hopes at some point in the future to turn his passion for photography into a full-time career, and things are looking promising for the 23-year-old. Owen’s work is already highly admired and he has been commissioned for various photoshoots and several of his pictures can be found online. He hopes his photography will continue to move forward.
He also hopes to carry on being a Motability Scheme customer. So far Owen has had three Scheme cars and is currently driving a Ford Focus Estate which is big and roomy, good for transporting his photography equipment around. You might say the road ahead looks good for Motability Scheme customer and up-and-coming photographer, Owen Clarke.
About the Motability Scheme
The Motability Scheme helps you to get mobile by exchanging your mobility allowance to lease a new car, Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle, scooter or powered wheelchair, all of which come with our fully inclusive lease package, so you can get on the road and enjoy everyday freedom: it’s simple, affordable, reliable.
If you’d like to find out more about the Scheme, request an information pack below and we’ll send you all the information that you need to make the right choice.