Driver Assessment and Rehabilitation Programs
Driving is a complex task involving multiple skills including cognitive, physical, visual and emotional abilities. Driving for many people is a means to independence, employment and access to social interactions. However illness, disabilities, general aging and medical treatments can impact the skills a person requires to drive safely and lead to accidents causing death or injury.
In NSW, the RMS (Roads and Maritime Service) is responsible for ensuring all drivers are medically fit to drive. The law requires all licensed drivers to report directly to the RMS any long term or permanent medical condition that is likely to affect their ability to drive. When reporting a medical condition, the RMS will request a medical report from your treating doctor or specialist. Your doctor may recommend to the RMS that you undertake an Occupational Therapy driving assessment to determine if the medical condition impacts on your ability to drive safely and legally.
At Enhanced Living Solutions we understand how important driving is to an individual. Our aim is to assist people to drive safely and independenty for as long as possible.
Occupational Therapy Driver Assessments
The Occupational Therapy Driver Assessment consists of an Off-Road and On-Road assessment.
The Off-Road assessment involves an interview and clinical assessment examining your medical background, driving history, physical capacity, your vision, your decision making abilities and judgement skills related to driving and general practical knowledge of road law.The Off-Road assessment may take up to 2 hours to complete.
The On-Road assessment occurs in a dual controlled car with a qualified driving instructor and the driver trained OT. This may be in an automatic or manual car, depending upon what you are used to driving or what your medical condition requires. The On-Road assessment may take up to 1.5 hours to complete
What is needed
A medical report from your treating doctor or specialist indicating your medical clearance to drive, your medical condition and the need for an Occupational Therapy driving assessment;
An eyesight report from an optometrist or ophthalmologist may also be required;
A current driver’s licence or learner’s permit; and
Glasses, contact lenses and/or hearing aids if required.
Following the assessment
Immediately following the assessment, the Occupational Therapist will provide feedback regarding the impact of your medical condition on your ability to drive safely and according to RMS legal requirements. A report detailing the driving assessment outcome and recommendations is sent to the referring doctor and the RMS Medical Unit. The RMS Medical Unit has specially trained staff responsible for making a decision regarding a person’s licence status based on the results and recommendations of the medical and Occupational Therapy driving assessment report.
Possible outcome of an Occupational Therapy Driving Assessment
There are a number of recommendations that can result from the assessment. These include:
Fit to drive with no other intervention
Fit to drive with certain conditions such as a limited distance from home, driving only in daylight hours or driving an automatic vehicle only
Driving lessons to learn compensatory techniques, to regain confidence or to upgrade driving skills
Driving lessons to learn competency in driving with specialised vehicle modifications such as a steering aid, hand controls or a left foot accelerator. To drive legally with specialised vehicle modifications a person must have the modifications endorsed on their licence. They will be required to undertake an RMS Disability Driving Test to prove competency and safety driving with the modifications
Suspension of the licence whilst waiting for further recovery, or
Unfit to drive, with licence cancellation.
At times a person may be issued with a learner’s licence in order to complete the driving assessment or driving tuition.
Ongoing Occupational Therapy driving assessments:
An on-road re-assessment may be necessary to assess a person’s progress following driving lessons.
Further Occupational Therapy re-assessments may also be required if a progressive medical condition is involved, such as dementia and / or Parkinson’s Disease.
Occupational Therapy Driver Rehabilitation Programs
Where the outcome of the Occupational Therapy driving assessment recommends lessons to learn compensatory techniques or competency in driving with vehicle modification, the Occupational Therapist will develop a rehabilitation program that will be implemented by a registered Driving Instructor experienced in driver rehabilitation and vehicle modifications.