People suffering from locomotor disabilities (meaning disability of the bones, joints muscles leading to substantial restriction of the movement of the limbs or any form of cerebral palsy) are eligible to drive an Invalid carriage (modified vehicle) if the licensing authority is satisfied that he is fit to drive such a carriage
As per Indian Motor Vehicle Act "invalid carriage" means a motor vehicle specially designed and constructed, and not merely adapted, for the use of a person suffering from some physical defect or disability, and used solely by or for such a person.
People suffering from hearing impairment, visual impairment & mental illness are not authorized to drive.
However in 2011 the Delhi High Court has allowed deaf persons to go through the test and drive if they are found capable, the High Court has, for the first time in this country, permitted deaf persons to legally drive a vehicle.
Two Wheeler : In general licensing authorities permit people suffering from disabilities in lower limbs only to drive a 2 wheeler subject to the following modifications:
Four Wheeler : Manual Transmission (manual gear shift) Car
Four Wheeler : Automatic Transmission (Auto Gear Shift / Auto Transmission) Car
ALL INDIA INSTITUTE OF PHYSICAL MEDICINE AND REHABILITATION is only one agency in India which issues permanent driving fitness certificates to people with disabilities
Limitation however is that AIIPMR issues driving fitness certificates to residents of Maharashtra only.
This is an area which is highly unorganised at present. We have been able to gather details of a few vendors which are provided in the web site. Few of these vendors are RTO & ARAI (Automotive Research Association of India) approved.
Estimated prices of Indian made kits are as follows:
Ideal process is as follows:
Person approaches the RTO authorities with a copy of disability certificate or a permanent driving fitness certificate. Convince the licensing authority that I'm fit to drive with the proposed modifications. The licensing authority after being satisfied that the said person is fit to drive issues a Learner's License.
Subsequently the person has to buy a car, get it modified & apply for the registration of that car.
Please note that he can learn driving in the modified car only. Since there is no driving school in India to teach driving to people with disabilities they have no other option but to first buy a car, get it modified, learn driving & then apply for license.
After the vehicle is registered as an Invalid Carriage he has to appear for the driving test on the same vehicle. Once all the tests are cleared the person is awarded a license of Invalid Carriage. The registration no. Of the vehicle is mentioned in the driving license meaning that person is authorized to drive that particular vehicle only.
However due to lack of uniformity in processes across offices in various states / towns & lack of complete knowledge both on the part of the applicant & the licensing authorities the ideal process is not followed many a times.
The benefits extended may vary from state to state. In Gujarat the following benefits are extended to Invalid Carriage for use by people with disabilities :
Previously differently abled people had to first buy a car, get it modified & then they were provided with a Learner’s License. Then they had to learn driving after which they could apply for permanent license.
Subsequent to Ability on Wheels setting up a motor driving school exclusively for people with disabilities which (the first of its kind in the country) transport authorities in Gujarat have started issuing Learner’s license without the pre condition of first buying a car.
With this initiative they have the opportunity to learn driving first, gain confidence, raise their self esteem, provide a befitting reply to critics & then make this big decision on buying a car.
Also the information being provided to differently abled people as well as the Govt. authorities is proving to be of great help in streamlining the process of licensing, their claiming rightful benefits & handling ignorant people in the system.