Driver Evaluation & Training

What is Driver Evaluation?

Driver Evaluation assesses an individual’s ability to operate a vehicle safely and assesses strengths/limitations in the physical, visual, cognitive, and perceptual domains. The evaluation results in specific recommendations for adaptive devices, vehicle type, vehicle modifications, and a training program.

What is Driver Training?

Driver Training is for persons over the age of 15 1/2 who may or may not have driven previously. The instructional program is customized for the needs of the individual. Behind-the-wheel instruction focuses on basic vehicle control and maneuvers, rural, urban, and highway driving. Tutoring and directed private study help to prepare the client for the state license examination. A Pre-driving Evaluation is a valuable tool to assess if a person has been affected by their medical condition in a way that renders them unsafe to drive. It is an essential part of the recovery process to correct any deficits that may influence your safety and independence.

Medical conditions that may affect driving skills include:

• Vision - such as distance acuity, tracking, tunnel vision, and depth perception.
• Loss of consciousness - from heart conditions, blood pressure, breathing disorders, low blood sugar, or seizures.
• Cognition - deficits affecting problem solving skills, sequencing, and memory from Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, dementia, or stroke.
• Physical conditions such as stiffness from arthritis, inability to use arm or leg from strokes, and conditions affecting reaction time.

The state of Massachusetts has self-reporting laws requiring patients to disclose any medical conditions that may affect their driving abilities. It is your responsibility to report such a condition to the Registration of Motor Vehicles. If you are uncertain if your condition impinges on your driving abilities, or if you need a doctor's order to medically clear you to safely drive, you will benefit from a Pre-Driving Evaluation.

A Pre-Driving Evaluation is conducted by an occupational therapist at a facility specializing in this type of evaluation. A facility with a driving simulator systems with steering wheel, accelerator and break pedals for reaction time testing is a good choice. An evaluation will test your vision, depth perception, motor planning and problem solving skills. Many medical conditions can be resolved with either an ophthalmologist consultation and prescription (if a visual change has occurred), or adaptations to your car to allow for safe driving.

Clients must be seizure free for 12 months.