Abbeymead woman suffering ataxia loses driving licence after being wrongly accused of drink-driving
JAYNE Wallace, who suffers with a disability that affects her balance, said she was wrongly accused of drink driving and has now lost her licence as a result.
Housing association worker Jayne, 41, from Abbeymead, was diagnosed with ataxia 10 years ago and although it hinders her balance, she has been medically cleared to drive.
In October last year, she stopped at Brockworth petrol station to fill her car and a member of the public reported her for drink driving when they saw her walk across the forecourt.
Minutes later, after Jayne arrived home, police officers knocked on her door
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"I was so scared, they treated me like a criminal," said Jayne, who lives with her mother Anne.
"I told the police officer I had ataxia and she told me she had never heard of it and she thought I was making it up.
"I was in floods of tears, I thought they were going to arrest me, but luckily they didn't."
Meanwhile, the DVLA sent Jayne a letter this week saying her licence will be taken off her and she believes last year's brush with the police is to blame.
She said: "I have had this condition for the past 10 years and I can drive fine, it is only my balance that is affected, I have a doctors note saying I can drive.
"My car is a lifeline to me, it is my only way of getting around."
Jayne said she is often mistaken for being drunk.
A police spokeswoman confirmed the incident took place, saying:: "As is protocol the DVLA were notified of the incident.
"Any subsequent changes to a licence are a matter for the DVLA. The woman was not arrested."
Founder of Gloucestershire and Worcestershire ataxia support group Brian Davis said he was "unsurprised" by Jayne's situation.
He said: "Being mistaken for a drunk person is probably one of the biggest problems anyone with ataxia faces. We deal with it every single day. It's obviously still safe for people with ataxia to drive. And the freedom it gives is vital."
A DVLA spokesman said: "Licensing rules have an important part to play in keeping our roads safe. We must make sure that only those who are safe to drive are allowed on our roads while at the same time avoiding placing unnecessary restrictions on people's independence.
"If the DVLA is made aware that a licence holder may not meet the minimum medical standards for driving then we will investigate.
"If it is confirmed that a driver does not meet the standards, we will revoke the licence."
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