Hello again and sorry it has taken a while for me to respond to your kind wishes and useful information.
Well, after waiting a year and a half I finally got to do my driving assessment. I had mixed emotions leading up to the day as driving is so important to me; I've realised just how important since my licence was revoked. I was both nervous and excited as I knew the assessment would ultimately determine whether or not I'd get my licence back.
I arrived at the assessment centre around 20 minutes before my appointment. All of the staff were very friendly and the receptionist even made me a cup of coffee. I was eventually called in where I met an occupational health specialist and a specialist driving assessor. They explained the reason for the assessment and what I would be doing. They already had all my medical notes from my doctors so they had a good idea how I had gotten to this point.
The assessment was split into two parts. The first part was a mental stress test. This is designed to determine how well you cope under pressure and how you process visual and audio information. It consisted of a set of small tasks which I had to completed as quickly and as accurately as possible.
These included things such as reproducing a diagram of a cube, memorizing and recalling lists of words, marking all occurrences of a particular letter in a grid of letters, etc. The difficulty of this task ia determined by your age and level of education. It was actually quite tricky and I felt like I'd been tested after it, even though I felt I'd done well.
Then it was onto the actual driving portion of the assessment. They offered me a choice of cars and in the end I went for a 1 litre manual ford fiesta. I started off in the little test track they had on site. I did a few laps and they asked me to do a hill start and an emergency stop to make sure I had full control of the car. Once they were happy we went onto the proper roads.
They explained that it wasn't a driving test and they would not try to catch me out. I would be driving on a pre set route (about 12 miles in total) and they were not wanting me to drive like you would in a test (hands 10 and 2, not riding the clutch, etc). As long as I safely navigated the route within the speed limits they would be happy.
I was guided along the route; told where to turn, which exit to take at roundabouts, etc. I made a point of over emphasising my looks in the mirrors and over my shoulders. I also said out loud when people pulled out in front of me so that the assessors knew that I'd seen everything going on.
Half way through my drive they got me to pull over. They do this for everyone as a little break as they're aware you haven't driven for so long. At this point they give you some feedback. I was told I was driving very well by both of the assessors and to keep it it up for the second half. The second half of the drive included some independent driving where they ask you to follow the road signs to a certain location. This was absolutely fine and I made it there with no problems.
I was then directed back to the test centre. After I pulled up I went and sat back in the room where I did the first test while they had a quick discussion between themselves. They were only gone 30 seconds and when they came in they said straight away "Congratulations! You've had an excellent drive and we're happy to advise the DVLA to reissue your licence."
I was over the moon and I couldn't thank them enough. They reminded me that the decision is down to the DVLA, but they do tend to go with their recommendation 99.9% of the time. I'm convinced it's just a matter of waiting now - I've even been to look at cars!
I'm going to ring the DVLA this Friday and then ring them every day after that until they've made a decision. As soon as I know I'll let you know on here.