In the United States and most other countries, there are no legal restrictions relating to autism and driving. As long as the individual can pass the required tests and demonstrate safe driving behavior, they are permitted to obtain a driver’s permit and eventually a driver’s license. However, driving is much more than learning “the rules of the road” and being able to pass a licensing test. It entails social judgment; motor coordination; pre-planning; flexibility to change; the ability to focus, multi-task, prioritize, and control one’s anxiety and sensory sensitivities. ASD can affect decision-making, information processing and attention to varying degrees. On the other hand, an individual with ASD may have characteristics that promote safe driving behavior, such as a vigilance to follow driving laws.
California law requires a person under the age of 18 to complete one of the following classroom driver education and driver training courses:
- 25 hours of classroom instruction (not including breaks or time for meals), home study or Internet training program (must be equivalent to classroom instruction requirements).
- 6 hours of Behind-the-Wheel training.
- 50 hours of supervised driving practice that includes 10 hours of driving during darkness.
Additionally, if the person with ASD has difficulty with reading, the California DMV does offer an alternative format (someone asking the questions instead of the applicant reading them). www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/dl/dl_info#alternative
For more info:
Rules of the Road: Driving and ASD
“Autism and Driving: Everything You Need to Know”