Regulations with reference to Disabled Drivers

Competition Licence
The grade of licences available are (highest first) International, National ‘A’, National ‘B’, and Clubman.   For racing, rallying or karting you will need to purchase an appropriate starter pack from the MSA, complete a Novice Drivers Scheme at an approved drivers school and then send in your completed race licence application form.

For events such as hillclimbs or sprints a speed licence is required.

However if you are in anyway disabled please DO NOT buy a pack or attend a school until your condition has been assessed - I would not want you to waste your money or delay your application for a licence!   Please give me a call, have a chat, you can then download and complete the relevant licence application form. Have it signed by your Doctor and send it to the MSA for the attention of the MSA's Medical Section Administrator - see Contact Page for all contact details. 

Depending upon your circumstances you may be requested to attend a session of the Medical Advisory Panel which meets twice a year - October and March.  Please refer to the "Regulations" section that explains the medical conditions that may prevent participation in some types of events.
Please Note two important points:

1) It has become a standard procedure that disabled drivers wishing to take part in racing but who have no previous competition experience will initially be offered a National Speed licence (National B non-race) to participate in a minimum of four "speed" events i.e. sprints and hillclimbs in their first season before applying for an upgrade to a race licence.

2) For safety reasons (not yours - the marshals, other drivers and spectators!) you have to be able to exit the vehicle, unaided and from a fully strapped in position, within 7 seconds for race events and 10 seconds for speed events.  NB: This does not apply to kart racers taking part in Short Circuit Kart race events.

MSA Blue Book Section J Competitors: Vehicles  The time requirement for exiting a competition car for ALL competitors is as follows :-

5.19.2. The vehicle occupant(s), seated in their normal position, wearing normal equipment, with seat belts fastened and the steering wheel in place, must be able to evacuate the cockpit in a maximum of 7 seconds.

NB Disabled drivers are given an extra 3 seconds to exit (10 seconds total) when competing in Non Race Speed events where only one car at a time participates e.g., sprints, hillclimbs etc.

The following paragraphs are extracts from :-

The MSA Yearbook-
       1.  Medical Declaration - Disabled Drivers
        2.  Diabetics
        3.  Epilepsy
        4.  Other Medical Conditions 
        5.  Eyesight Standards
MSA Policy and Guidance  
         6. Disabled participation - Officials / Marshals

FIA - International Regulations

        7. "Licences for participants with special abilities"    

        See details copied from the FIA website in Section 7 below.

        Applicants for International Licences can refer directly to FIA regulations, (Appendix L   Sections 10 & 11).  Note For an International Rally licence, there is now a distinction drawn between Driver and the Navigator with differing criteria.

1. Medical Declaration - Disabled Drivers

Any applicant with a congenital abnormality of any limb, or amputation or with any other disability should first contact the MSA`s Medical Section Administrator at Motor Sports House who will be pleased to advise and help the applicant.

In addition to the requirements of sections 24,25,26 and 27(News items listed) , disabled applicants should note the following:

The following medical conditions may prevent the granting of a Competition Licence:

          (a)    Paraplegia
          (b)    Hemiplegia
          (c)    Quadriplegia
          (d)    Loss of limb.

When applying for a Competition Licence all applicants are required to declare any physical disability.

Disabled drivers may be required to present themselves for examination by the MSA` Medical Consultant.  If required to attend such examination the applicant will be required to provide, in advance, a note from his/her GP describing the applicant`s disability and, if applicable, an opinion from any specialist who has been consulted.

 Any driver or co-driver/navigator who has any medical condition or disability or who is currently on anti-coagulant therapy should declare this at the time of entering.  Such information to be solely for the use of the Chief of medical services in the event of an accident.

 Those competing in accordance with 28 in an activity where competition numbers as defined in 74 or in K 194-198 should carry a white `D`, 60mm in height on a blue background 90mm by 90mm on both sides of the vehicle adjacent to the side numbers to alert marshals in the case of an incident.  (available from MSA online shop - )

2. Diabetics

Diabetics requiring treatment with insulin will not normally be issued with a licence valid for Racing, Karting, Kart Clubman, Rallycross, Stage Rallying or International Rallying.

In certain circumstances the Medical Consultant at the MSA will be prepared to consider applications in writing by Insulin controlled Diabetics.  Each applicant would need to present themself to a Diabetics Specialist recommended by the MSA and any costs incurred would be borne by the applicant.

3. Epilepsy

Epilepsy is incompatible with fitness to Race, Kart, Kart Endurance, Kart Tyro, Rallycross or Stage Rally. If a person with epilepsy has not had a fit or medication to prevent or control fits for a period of ten years they may present that case to the MSA’s Medical Consultant for consideration.

For other events a person with epilepsy may be considered for a competition speed licence (National B Non-race) providing they can show that they have not had a fit for five years whether on or off medication.
Clarification from the MSA Medical Panel :-

Currently the regulations for the granting of a race licence requires an individual to have been seizure free for a period of at least 10 years, without any anti-convulsant medication.  This regulation is based upon the DVLA Class 2 requirements for Professional Drivers.  The Medical Advisory Panel advises the MSA upon medical matters relating to motorsport, including the medical restrictions upon the issue of competitive licences.  We have to set the standards using the best information that is currently available to us.  The panel comprises members of the medical profession who are chosen for their involvement with motorsport or their specialist knowledge in various branches of medicine.  In considering any individual request we aim to assess whether there is increased risk to, other competitors, officials or spectators.  We have a duty of care to these groups and, therefore, cannot approve an application where this may be the case. 

We use the DVLA medical guidelines as the basis for our decisions in many areas as these are well developed, legally established national standards.  The Class 1 guidelines are felt to be insufficiently rigorous for race licence purposes.  The reasoning behind this decision is that individuals competing are driving at their physical and physiological limits as well as being under considerable mental stress.  In these circumstances we need to apply more rigorous criteria to reduce the risk of medical conditions impairing ability.  This is exactly the reasoning behind the Class 2 regulations, which aim to reduce the risk to less than 2%.

The Medical Advisory Panel has worked hard to modify these restrictions where possible and allow as many individuals with medical conditions to compete. 

Speed Events - National B Non race licences

If an individual has been seizure free for a period of 5 years, with or without medication, they may apply for a non race licence allowing them to compete in hill climbs or sprints.

4. Other Medical Conditions

The following medical conditions may prevent the granting of a Competition Licence:
(a) Myocardial infarction.
(b) Myocardial ischaemia.
(c) Coronary artery by-pass surgery.
(d) Coronary Angioplasty.
(e) Valvular Disease of the Heart or other abnormal condition whether operated on or not.
(f) Severe hypertension which has given rise to cardiopulmonary problems.
(g) Any mental or behavioural disorders*, past or present whether or not under treatment with drugs or therapy.

*As defined in ICD.10 (International Classification of Diseases).

5.  Eyesight Standards

The following eyesight standards are required to be met by applicants for a national licence.

(a) Minimum corrected visual acuity must be 6/6 with both eyes open.
(b) Minimum binocular field should measure at least 120 degrees along the horizontal meridian with no defects within the central 20 degrees.
(c) Spectacles should be fitted with shatterproof lenses. Contact lenses if worn should be of the ‘soft’ variety.
(d) A person who suddenly loses sight in one eye will not be allowed to hold a licence until five years has lapsed.
(e) Double vision is not compatible with the issue of a Competition Licence.
(f) Drivers must have normal colour vision in that they can distinguish the primary colours of red and green.

6. Disabled participation - Officials / Marshals

MSA policy on this is quite straightforward in that there is no formal medical requirement for MSA Marshals or Licensed Officials to meet, but they are required to sign on at each meeting to the effect that they are ‘fit for the duty they are required to perform’.  This is the test that would particularly need to be satisfied as the boundaries of things like older age and/or infirmity/or any disablement were approached or crossed in whatever way.
The onus for self-declaring ‘fit for the duty undertaken’ on the MSA signing on sheets becomes therefore wholly the responsibility of the individual, and it is hoped that in those few circumstances where signing such a statement may be somewhat economical with the truth (irrespective of age, a grossly overweight marshal being expected to carry fire extinguishers a considerable distance may be such an example, the presence of someone in a wheelchair that could obstruct the safety of others, whether on a marshals post or when undertaking some Licensed Officials duty, may be another), it is hoped that colleagues and Club Officials could be in a position to offer appropriate advice to the individual, and for Clerks and Senior Licensed Officials, together with Chief Marshals, to consider appointment to ‘softer’ duties where possible if this provided a solution. 
A wheelchair bound person may be entirely appropriate to use for some particular duties, but entirely inappropriate for others.  The nature of these duties (either way) will vary according to the type of event and the topography of the venue whether in the paddock, scrutineering bay or out on the track or course, so it is difficult to set exact guidelines.  Again some distinction should be drawn between duties restricted by way of temporary health or disability issues, as opposed to those which may pose medium to long term difficulties.  There is no specific definition of a ‘disabled’ person that we use in motorsport.
The ‘fit for duty’ statement is a significant element of the risk management of the sport (and therefore its insurance cover), both for the marshal or official concerned and their immediate colleagues, and its correct interpretation and application is essential for the safety of all concerned.


FIA - International Regulations (Appendix L Sections 10 & 11)

APPENDIX L 2016 Published on 9 December 2015 but currently unchanged in 2016/2017

10.  Licences for participants with special abilities

10.1 Driver Irrespective of the problems raised by chronic illnesses which preclude the practice of motor sport and disqualifying visual disorders, any person with an acquired or congenital disability and who, in the opinion of his national Medical Commission (where applicable) or of a doctor designated by the ASN, does not fulfil the conditions for obtaining an international driver’s licence (see Article 1.5.2, Chapter II), may apply to obtain an International Special Abilities Licence, if all the conditions stated below are fulfilled.

The criteria for the awarding of this licence are judged on four levels:

i)                    The driver who is a candidate for a Special Abilities Licence shall be examined either by a member of the National Medical Commission in countries where such a body exists, or otherwise by a physician appointed by the ASN.

ii)                    The applicant must undergo a driving test, in his own competition vehicle and preferably on a circuit and in the presence of an official from the ASN, in order for his capacities to be appraised.

iii)                 His ability to extricate himself from his own competition vehicle (or from a similar model) as quickly as possible (simulations of immediate danger, outbreak of fire, etc.) shall be judged at the same time. The applicant must, from a sitting position, be able, alone, to extricate himself and move away from the car. Out of the vehicle, lying on his back, he must be able to turn onto his stomach and vice versa.

iv)                  If the adaptations required by the drivers’ physical condition have already been made, or still need to be made, and do not feature in the homologation form of the competition vehicle, they will have to be approved by the ASN and, in competitions, be entered into a document to be submitted during the scrutineering of the vehicles.

Once the ASN has received medical, technical and sporting evaluations, it will take the final decision as to the granting or denial of the International Special Abilities Licence for Drivers.

10.2 Navigator Similarly, irrespective of the problems raised by chronic illnesses which preclude the practice of motor sport and disqualifying visual disorders, a participant with special abilities whose sporting activity is limited to the role of navigator in rallies, as they are defined in Article 20 of the International Sporting Code, may apply for an International Special Abilities Licence for Navigators for rallies as defined in Article 20 of the International Sporting Code.

The physical criteria to be met are the same as those required for the International Special Abilities Licence for Drivers. The ability of the applicant to extricate himself from the vehicle in which he wishes to perform his role of navigator (or from a similar model) must be evaluated in accordance with the same criteria as those required for the Special Abilities Licence for Drivers.

Moreover, in all cases, the applicant will have to succeed in carrying out the following exercises, in the order in which they are listed: -

Passenger door blocked; driver also on board;
- exit the vehicle as soon as possible by climbing over the driver;
- Place the SOS panel on the roof;

- Place the red triangle approximately 50 metres to the rear of the vehicle;
- Help the driver (presumed to be injured) to extricate himself from the vehicle;
- Retrieve the SOS panel and wave it behind the vehicle.

The driving test and dealing with technical problems do not concern navigators with special abilities. Once it has received a medical opinion, the ASN will have the final say on whether to issue or refuse the International Special Abilities Licence for Navigators.

11.  Practice of motor sport for holders of a Special Abilities Licence

11.1 Holders of an International Special Abilities Licence for Drivers may only participate in competitions in which a separate start is given to each competitor. Their participation is subject to the agreement of the ASN of the country of the competition.

11.2 Nevertheless, and subject to compliance with the conditions of issue stated in Article 10.1, certain holders of the International Special Abilities Licence for Drivers may take part in international circuit competitions, with a grouped start, with the exception of international single-seater races.

Such a dispensation may be applied for if:

- either the licence-holders were included on an FIA seeded or graded drivers list, were formerly Super Licence holders, or have proved considerable accomplishments in competition driving and, in spite of their current condition, are still able to perform as well as they could before it became necessary for them to acquire a Special Abilities Licence;

 - or the licence-holders are drivers with special abilities who have graduated from a homologated driving school recognised by the ASN and are capable of attaining a performance equal to that of the other drivers from the same school. Any request for special dispensations must be submitted by the driver to the ASN which issued his licence, which will forward it to the FIA.

 It will be subject to the approval of the Medical Commission and the Safety Commission. In the event of a disagreement between these two commissions, the World Council will decide.

11.3 During any competition in which one or more holders of a Special Abilities Licence for Drivers are taking part, the rescue services must be informed of these drivers’ racing numbers.