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Theory Test Centre Slammed for Lack of Disabled Access

Disabled driver on way to a theory test centre.

It’s unthinkable in the 21st century that a UK driving theory test centre does not offer disabled access. However, wheelchair user Sam Law was forced to pull himself up three flights of steps to take his theory test at the Haverfordwest Test Centre recently. This is outrageous and something needs to be done…

A recent BBC report made us very upset when it revealed that 21-year-old Sam Law, who lives in Cardigan, Ceredigion in Wales was left with no other option but to drag himself up three flights of stairs to attend his driving theory test appointment at the Haverfordwest theory test centre.

We were so outraged that we wanted to raise further awareness of the plight facing disabled learner drivers taking their theory tests.

To be honest, we’re stunned, while the experience left Sam feeling angry and ‘completely left out’. Sam’s Mum even took pictures to show her son’s struggles just to get to the theory test appointment.

Disabled Access to Theory Test Centres a Problem

On this occasion, the Haverfordwest Theory Test Centre was at the centre of the controversy, but several other test centres across the UK have been blasted in the past for lacking disabled access points.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) issued an apology to Sam, saying: “The DVSA is extremely sorry for the unacceptable distress caused.” A spokesperson for the DVSA said that the matter is now being investigated urgently.

Under regulations, theory test centres are obligated to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ for disabled candidates to avoid putting them at a disadvantage to those who aren’t disabled.

Mr Law had specified that he used a wheelchair when booking a theory test online.

Aberystwyth Theory Test Centre

He’d also asked for his appointment to be taken at the Aberystwyth Theory Test Centre because he knew the facility had disabled access.

However, his appointment was booked at Haverfordwest, but on calling the facility to check if it had disabled access, Mr Law said no one picked up.

Commenting on the experience, Mr Law said: “I was very disappointed and angry, I felt left out, completely left out.”

Meanwhile, it seems the staff were less than helpful, advising Mr Law to return home and book another theory test. However, Mr Law didn’t want to delay his test any further and decided to climb the steps to the test centre with the help of his brother.

Mr Law said that the whole experience was ‘very, very hard work’, explaining that he sits down all the time because he breaks bones easily.

Not a Case of Go to Another Test Centre

Since suffering a spinal stroke at the age of 16, Mr Law has had to use a wheelchair. He was left stunned at a building being used by a government department not having disabled access.

He said: “It shouldn’t be a case of ‘you need to go to another  theory test centre’.”

From our point of view, the only way things will change is if we keep highlighting the problem of a lack of disabled access at many UK theory test centres. After all one of these stories is one too many and adds to what already is a stressful situation!

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