Experiences with licensing by autistic drivers: An exploratory study

Hélène Dirix, Kris Brijs, Eddy Huysmans, An Neven, Tom Brijs, E.M.M. Jongen, Wael Alhajyaseen, Geert Wets, Veerle Ross*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Autistic individuals obtain their driver’s licenses significantly less or significantly later than non-autistic peers. In the past, research has been done on what problems autistic individuals experience when (learning to) driv(e)ing. However, little research has been conducted on how they experience the preparation for and the actual driving tests (i.e., theoretical and practical). Therefore, the purpose of this study was to obtain preliminary insights into autistic persons’ experiences with the tests to obtain a driver’s license. Forty participants completed a few questions about their experiences during the licensing process. Four tentative conclusions could be drawn: (1) autistic persons seek more professional guidance than the general population, (2) the practical test is perceived to be more difficult than the theoretical test, (3) lack of predictability, communication problems, and time pressure are the most reported problems for autistic individuals, and (4) many of the reported problems could be linked to core autism traits. Moreover, after comparing the study participants’ pass rates to the general pass rate in Flanders, a preliminary conclusion could be drawn that, although the participants experienced many difficulties during the practice period and the practical test, their success rates were not lower than those of the general population. These study results can be the basis for follow-up research to move towards a more autism-friendly licensing system.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)330-337
Number of pages8
JournalProcedia Computer Science
Publication statusPublished - 27 Apr 2022
EventThe 13th International Conference on Ambient Systems, Networks and Technologies
- Porto, Portugal
Duration: 22 Mar 202225 Mar 2022
Conference number: 13


  • Autism
  • driver's license
  • driving exam
  • driving licensing
  • experiences
  • practical test
  • theoretical test


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