Step One: Get Assessed

Depending on your disability and current state of driving, there are different types of assessments that are right for you. If you are looking to get your license to drive, you may need an assessment that incorporates your physical, cognitive and perceptual abilities. If you already have a license then you may need an assessment to see if you need any adjustments to your current driving aids due to increased or decreased ability. You can also be assessed if you are not able to drive and need to know what kind of vehicle will be appropriate for your transportation needs.

Before you get Assessed

Sometimes when people come in to be assessed, they may hide or distort some facts about their condition or license status because they really want to be able to drive and are worried that the system is set up to prevent them from driving. Experience has shown that this will typically delay the process or cause problems down the road. The first thing you need to do before your assessment is to be prepared to be wholly honest about your abilities, driving record and license status.

We’re here to be your advocate. Larry has been working in driver rehab for over 22 years because he loves to help people. He will be your advocate and ensure that you can drive as much as your abilities allow you to drive safely. He has your best interests in mind and that includes your safety and the safety of your family, friends and the general public.

The worst thing that can happen if you are dishonest about your abilities is that no one will find out until you get into an accident, then the insurance companies will ask questions and possibly sue you for the full amount of the damage. No one wants that to happen.

What you will need:

  • A completed referral form signed by your doctor including
  • The current state of your license: active, cancelled, suspended, etc.
  • What type of disability you have
  • What medication(s) you are taking
  • If you have had any seizures within the last year and when you had the last seizure
  • Age and driver’s license number

You can print out a referral form from our website, then print it out and bring it to your doctor. After the doctor has completed the form he will fax the form to our office for processing.

Types of Disability

Before discussing what kind of assessments you will need, it will be beneficial to review the types of disabilities that we will mention. Once you determine what factors will be involved in your driving assessment then you will be able to determine which assessments are appropriate for you on your way to mobility freedom.

Type: Cognitive 
Description: Cognitive disabilities involve one or more of memory, attention, concentration, visual comprehension and mental stamina 
Potential Causes: Brain injury, stroke, aging 
First Step: Cognitive / Perceptual Assessment

Type: Visual/Perceptual 
Description: Visual/Perceptual disabilities involve visual acuity, field of view, blind spots, diplopia (double vision), color vision, contrast sensitivity, contrast sensitivity, depth perception, dark adaptation and glare recovery. Generally, any disability involving hearing will not affect licensing for a class 5 license.
Potential Causes: Genetic condition, aging, head injury, stroke, eye injury, cataracts, visual degenerative diseases. First Step: Cognitive / Perceptual Assessment

Type: Physical 
Description: A physical disability that requires adaptations to the primary controls of a vehicle. Primary controls include steering, gas pedal, brake pedal, secondary controls as well as entry and exit to vehicles.
Potential Causes: Paraplegia, Quadriplegia, Spinal cord injury, Muscular Dystrophy, Arthritis, Cerebral Palsy, Amputation, Burns and Multiple Sclerosis.
First Step: Physical Assessment

Type: Minor Physical Disability 
Description: A physical disability that requires assessment but does not require vehicle adaptations. This may include lack of strength or stamina.
Potential Causes: Arthritis, Stroke 
First Step: by doctor’s request: On Road or Physical Assessment

Type: Restrictive Disability 
Description: Certain types of disability make driving always unsafe. These include seizures, syncope (fainting spells), acute labyrinthitis, positional vertigo, deep venous thrombosis, Reynaud’s Disease, Buerger’s Disease and Arteriosclerotic Occlusions, acute pericarditis or myocarditis. In some cases the severity and frequency of the problem will indicate if driving is safe or not – please consult you doctor and feel free to contact us to ask questions.First Step: Consult your doctor and qualified specialists such as driver rehab specialists and occupation therapists.

Types of Assessments

There are five basic types of assessment that can be done. Please refer to the table below to determine what kind of assessment you may need.

The types of assessment are:

  1. Cognitive / Perceptual
  2. Physical
  3. On-Road
  4. Vehicle Consultation
  5. Adaptations / Modifications Consultation
  6. Professional Truck Driving

1) Cognitive / Perceptual Assessment:

Your physical, visual, cognitive and perceptual abilities will be assessed. The assessment will include psychological testing that are supervised by a clinical psychologist. The results of the testing will indicate what the next course of action should be for you. This could include further rehab, alternate transportation and/or relicensing. A report will be generated and sent to the referring physician and to the medical consultant at the Office of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles in Victoria for review.

Next Steps:

2) Physical Driver Assessment:

This includes an interview, visual screening, range of motion and strength testing specifically for driving. This assessment will help determine which type of adaptive equipment will be required for you to drive. The assessment will also help to determine what the process will be for you to get relicensed. The assessment will be reviewed with you and a plan of action will be determined. A report will be generated and sent to the referring physician and to the medical consultant at the Office of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles in Victoria for review.

Next Steps:

  • You need training or further rehab: driver training
  • You are ready for a road assessment: road assessment
  • You need on road training and an on road test at the local motor vehicle branch
  • You should be able to drive with further rehab
  • You are not ready to drive at this time but you need a vehicle for transport: vehicle consultation

3) On Road Assessment

On completion of the in clinic assessment you may be ready for an on road assessment. This may also be after some rehab and training. This assessment may also be done on its own if you are were injured and are recovering and your doctor is unsure if your injury or disability will make you unsafe to drive.

If you do not have a major cognitive or perceptual deficits and do not require any adaptations to the primary controls like steering, gas or brake then you can have an on road assessment. This will require you to have a current driver’s license and it can be performed in your own vehicle under the supervision of a driver rehab specialist.

If you have major cognitive or perceptual deficits then the on road assessment will be done with a qualified driving instructor in a dual controlled vehicle and with the driver rehab specialist present.

If you require adaptations to the primary controls like steering, gas or brake then on road training will be done in a specialized adapted vehicle with a qualified driving instructor.

Next Steps:

  • Your on road assessment indicates you can drive you may require an on road test at the local motor vehicle branch:
  • You assessment indicates you can’t drive, but need a special vehicle for someone to transport you in: vehicle consultation

4) Vehicle Consultation

If it is determined that you cannot drive, or just cannot drive right now, until you have more rehabilitation, you may still need a specialized modified vehicle for others to transport you around. For you, the driver rehab specialist can help to determine which vehicle will be most appropriate for your particular situation. In the case where you might be able to drive in the future, it will be important to choose a vehicle that will be appropriate both to transport you around now and later modified for you to enable you to drive independently at a later date.

If it is determined that you can drive, then the rehab specialist will determine if you can use your current vehicle that you own or you need a new vehicle that can be modified to accommodate your disability. Working with the driver rehab specialist together you will come up with recommendations regarding the vehiocle/modifications/adaptations. When you pass your driver’s test at the motor vehicle branch, in the training vehicle with the particular adaptaions you require you will receive a restricted license requiring you to drive with these adaptations. A prescription for the vehicle, modifications and adaptaions will be generated and either given to you to take to vendors or to the appropriate sponsoring agency. Once the vehicle has been modified it is recommended that it be reviewed by the you, the vendor and the driver rehab specialist to ensure it has been set up aprorpaitely for your needs.

5) Professional Truck Driving Assessment

IMG_3509_smallTruck driving requires that you not only have the physical skills for driving but also that you have the physical strength and stamina as well as the cognitive/perceptual skills to respect of the size and weight of the vehicle. Some feel all you have to do is drive a truck but there are many other aspects of the job description for this profession that you have to manage: you have to have the range of motion, strength, flexibility and balance to manage pre-trip checks, fluid maintenance, brake adjusments, cargo doors, landing gear, tarping, securing and adjusting loads.

A person with a disability will have to meet the above requirements whether they are looking into the profession for the first time or they have been a professional driver in the past. A full assessment of your abilities and disabilites is required to determine if you can drive in a safe manner. We are able to offer a full professional truck assessment which may include the following:

  • in clinic assessment (which includes visual, cognitive, physical abilities range of motion, strength,etc.)
  • on road assessment in your vehicle
  • tractor/trailer pretrip check (done at a local truck driving school)
  • on road assessment in tractor/trailer with qualified driving instructor and driver rehab specialist
  • short haul on road assessment 2-4 hours, with instructor and driver rehab specialist present
  • long haul on road assessment 6-8 hours, with instructor and driver rehab specialist present
  • on road training through truck driving school
  • for those clients who have had a traumatic experience and have fears of returning to truck driving we can provide desensitization training, with driving instructor, driver rehab specialist and debreifing by a consulting psychologist.