By Riley Saban
You may think getting my driving licence (L’s) is crazy as I have cerebral palsy GMFCS 5, but I like to think anything is possible. In 2016, with the help of my friend Dr Jordan Nguyen and some friends I drove a buggy using just my eyes. It’s now 2020, and I believe we are not far off using driverless cars in Australia. This is very liberating for people like me who wish to be more independent.
I turned 16 last year and just like many other teenagers, I considered the possibility of getting my L’s and contacted Service NSW in Coffs Harbour to see if there was any way I could sit the test. The law states that due to my disability I am required to have a signed document from my General Practitioner to say that I can drive.
I made an appointment to see my GP to discuss the situation and to see if he was able to sign off that I could drive a driverless vehicle in the near future. Unfortunately, due to safety reasons and the law, he was not able to. I totally understood where he was coming from but I left feeling a little disheartened about it all and put the idea on the back burner.
I am 17 now and recently I have been thinking about getting my Ls again as Cass, my support worker’s daughter, has just got her licence and I realised my youngest brother is about to go for his Ls in November. There is a little bit of loving sibling rivalry with my brother, and I do not like him to do anything before I do, so I decided to persue the situation again.
Cass, who is always advocating on my behalf and always has my back, contacted the lovely staff at RTA NSW in Coffs Harbour who were very accommodating and more than willing to revisit the idea. We all came to an agreement that I can sit the test, just like anyone else and get a photo identification card on the same day. This will let me have a similar experience to everyone else going for their L’s. I just won’t be able to drive (YET!).
So, the staff booked me in to sit the Ls test.
I studied hard for a couple of days, read the book, did some practice tests; there was no way I was going to fail. I had to prove to people that I could get it first go, especially my little bro.
On Friday 17th July, the morning of the test came. I felt so nervous; I felt like I was going to be sick! I arrived at the Service NSW and the staff were very helpful and put me at ease. I started the test; my body was tight, but I knew I had studied so I could do it.
The questions were multiple choice and I indicated to Cass my answer by clicking and she became my hand. I finished the test and I passed!!!
Phew!!!! I felt so relieved.
I can now say to my brother “Chase” that I passed my L’s test first go. He now has something to live up to. HA HA HA!
On the way out everyone in RMS clapped me. It was a great feeling.
Now, all I have to do is hint to Elon Musk that I need some help to change the rules, so we can all have the opportunity to drive the driverless cars on the road. Wink, wink. 😉 😉