Written Answers. - Disabled Driver Training Scheme.

Mary Wallace


367 Miss M. Wallace asked the Minister for the Environment the nature and extent of the participation by his Department in promoting driving among people with physical disabilities; his views on whether his Department, which is primarily responsible for matters to do with driving, should seek to extend its involvement in this area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16892/96]

Within the framework of EU law on driver licensing, every effort is made to ensure that persons with physical disabilities are accommodated for the purpose of access to driving tests and driving licences.

Financial assistance in promoting driving by the severely handicapped is channelled through the Revenue Commissioners under the terms of the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers (Tax Concessions) Regulations, 1994, which provide for a refund of vehicle registration tax and value added tax on cars, and excise duty on vehicle fuel, and relief from motor tax.

Traffic and parking by-laws already provide for certain exemptions for disabled drivers in terms of parking controls. These provisions are being reviewed at present in order to improve the application of the system. New traffic regulations, which I intend to introduce next month, will provide that special parking bays, reserved for holders of disabled drivers permits, can be provided throughout the country.

The Department of Health provides financial assistance for driver training schemes operated by the Irish Wheelchair Association.