How to get an occupational therapy driving assessment

How to get an occupational therapy driving assessment
Photo: Jeshoots, Pexels.

If you have an impairment due to a medical condition, disability or physical injury then it may affect your ability to operate a vehicle safely. Naturally, assurances need to be made to ensure that, if you are going to continue driving, that adequate steps have been taken to curb the risk of your impairment causing a road accident.

An occupational therapy driving assessment, such as those provided by Modified Driving, may be required in order to ascertain how well you can safely drive with your impairment. Even if you have been driving all your life and consider yourself quite experienced, a new impairment means you will need to have your ability assessed by an independent expert just to be on the safe side.

After all, you don’t want to take risks when it comes to your ability to drive safely. The following will examine the process you need to follow in order to complete a disability driving exam with an occupation therapist.

Finding an occupational therapist driving assessor

In order to complete the assessment, you need to engage with a specially qualified occupational therapist who is permitted to assess your ability behind the wheel. They will have unique insight into how your impairment is having an effect on your driving and can point out subtle things that you would never have realised on your own.

Of course, you can elect to stop driving altogether and mail your license to your state’s road authority organisation. You can often have fees you paid, such as renewing your license, paid back to you since you won’t be using it any more.

You don’t need to go with the first occupation therapist on the list your state’s road authority provides you with and can seek one out independently if you desire. The road authority of your state does not officially endorse any of the therapists on the lists they provide, so you will need to take guaranteeing their quality into your own hands.

It’s always a good idea to do some research into each provider you are considering engaging so that you are equipped with the most information possible before making a final decision. The last thing you would want is to rush into an arrangement with a low-quality provider.

How to get an occupational therapy driving assessment
Photo: Element5 Digital, Pexels.

The assessment

When it comes to the assessment itself, you will be required to perform it in the instructor’s vehicle which should have controls on both the driver and front passenger side. This allows the instructor to take control and stop the vehicle in an emergency so that other road users and pedestrians are protected.

The driving assessment is two pronged – an off-road assessment and an on-road test.

Before you begin, you will need to present a current fitness to drive/medical/eyesight report from your specialist or doctor. The standard will be higher for licences concerning heavy vehicles and taxis for example.

Off-road assessment

The instructor will ask you questions about you medical history and driving history. They will test you on road laws and make an assessment on your physical, sensory, visual and cognitive abilities.

This test works to ascertain the full extent of your limitations before turning the engine on. It breaks down what obvious modifications (if any) a vehicle you would operate will need and determines to what standard you must pass your on-road test.

On-road assessment

The on-road assessment will consist of you and the instructor, in a dual-controlled vehicle, driving for at least an hour to and hour and a half. During this time, the occupational therapist driving assessor will give you directions and make silent judgements on your performance.

Outcome

You assessment can have several different outcomes:

  1. Resume driving unconditionally (they found no reason to limit or modify your driving)
  2. Resume driving with approved modifications and/or
  3. Resume driving with restrictions/conditions
  4. Must take driving lessons and complete further testing
  5. Must wait for recovery or improvement in your impairment
  6. Must not drive due to being considered unsafe (you may be able to take the test again in the future)

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