As of 2018, there were 11 million people living with a disability in the United Kingdom. It is much more difficult for these individuals to find vehicles that they can use to navigate car-friendly cities in the UK.
There is a programme in place, however, that makes it easier for disabled drivers to make their presence known on UK motorways. Thanks to the Motability Scheme and an increased focus on the creation of mobility-friendly cars, a new wave of drivers has found their way onto the road.
What is the motability scheme?
The Motability Scheme is a movement within the United Kingdom designed to make it easier for differently-abled individuals to manoeuvre through the city and countryside. Participants can exchange their mobility allowances to lease vehicles that allow for their needs and driving styles.
By providing these drivers with cars that they can more readily drive, the Motability Scheme not only makes life easier for disabled drivers, but it also promotes increased road safety in the UK.
The benefits of motability and mobility cars
Disabled drivers with access to mobility-friendly cars can live life as they desire, without limitations placed on their ability to travel. The Motability Scheme, specifically, removes the stress of car management from a disabled driver’s life.
Through this scheme, drivers can waive their annual car tax, insurance and car maintenance. They are limited to a 60,000 mile cap per three-year lease period, but the cost exchange seems well worth the freedom that having an accessible car allows.
You can use the Motability Scheme’s Car Search to first research the specific make, model, and fuel type of the car you want. From here, you’ll be able to detail the customisations that’ll make your vehicle of choice all the more drivable.
The Motability Scheme makes the following car types available to anyone who qualifies for its program:
Small cars – the Motability Scheme’s small cars are ideal for single drivers or drivers looking to move a single passenger to and from different destinations.
Medium cars – medium cars through the Motability Scheme can carry between four and five people while also allowing for the transportation of mobility devices.
Family cars – family vehicles, like minivans, are ideal for parents who want to help their children travel from Point A to Point B. Alternatively, parents with disabilities will be able to transport their children with ease.
Estate cars – these are the largest of the vehicles the Motability Scheme makes available. If you’re travelling with a significant number of mobility devices, or if multiple members of your family need assistance, then estate cars will ensure that all of you can ride comfortably in the same vehicle.
As mentioned, drivers will also be able to choose what kind of fuel their car operates on. The Motability Scheme makes the following options available:
Diesel vehicles – diesel vehicles require less fuel than petrol vehicles, making them cheaper to maintain than many of the alternatives on this list. Even so, these vehicles typically come with a higher Advance Payment.
Petrol vehicles – petrol vehicles are among the most common cars found on the road in the UK.
Hybrids – hybrids use a combination of electric power and petrol to get drivers from one destination to another. This option is less expensive than a purely electric vehicle and will serve drivers well on longer drives.
Electric vehicles – for drivers looking to limit their carbon footprint, the Motability Scheme offers electric vehicles. These vehicles are ideal for city driving, but drivers in rural areas may find their shorter charges inconvenient for longer drives.
The type of mobility vehicle you’ll need to consider will vary based on your needs. The different cars available through the Motability Scheme and other dealers can accommodate these needs as they arise. The aforementioned needs include:
Entry and exits – the Motability Scheme allows you or a representative to measure and customise door opening angles, door width and height, and the measurements of an applicable entry ramp. In doing so, your vehicle becomes entirely your own, and you’ll be able to operate within it as anyone else would.
Travelling and space – if you need additional headroom, a higher seat, or room to alter the positioning of a wheelchair, the Motability Scheme and certain car dealers will allow you to customise your measurements accordingly.
Stowage – if you need to stow a mobility device, you’ll be given the opportunity to share your device’s measurements and to ensure that they fit inside your vehicle of choice.
The Motability Scheme looks to make owning and maintaining your custom vehicle as simple as possible. This means that the scheme will cover the following costs:
However, expenses outside of those listed above will be the responsibility of the car’s owner or an equivalent representative. You will have to pay for the vehicle’s fuel and other consumables, like oil. If your car needs additional alterations that Motability doesn’t readily make available, you’ll need to pay for those customisations out of pocket.
The Motability Scheme does not cover any speeding tickets, parking tickets, or other legal infractions that a driver may receive while driving a customised vehicle.
If you or someone you love needs access to a mobility-friendly vehicle, never fear. The Motability Scheme in the UK is driving a trend of accessible cars that’s set to change the way drivers take to the road.