Driving is a complex skill; therefore, the ability to drive safely can be affected by changes in physical, emotional, and mental condition. Following brain injury, stroke, or other disabling event, it is not guaranteed an individual will be able to return to driving. It is the individual’s responsibility to ensure he is safe in order to prevent harm to himself or others. If a person drives without obtaining proof he is safe to drive after a change in medical status, he may be subjecting himself to personal liability.
Occupational therapy driving evaluation process
A physician’s order is required to initiate the driving evaluation process which is comprised of an in-clinic evaluation and a behind-the-wheel evaluation. These evaluations are scheduled on two different days.
In-clinic driving evaluation; screening of visual, physical and cognitive skills
Screening during the in-clinic evaluation includes but is not limited to visual perception, visual acuity, visual scanning, problem solving, attention, judgment, frustration tolerance, map reading, knowledge of driving rules and road signs, and reaction time. This information will not ultimately determine a person’s ability or inability to drive as clinical testing may not always accurately measure driving performance.
After successful completion of the in-clinic driving evaluation, the client will be evaluated behind the wheel with a certified driving instructor and an occupational therapist. In order to participate in the behind-the-wheel evaluation, the client must have a current/non-expired driver’s license. At that time, the instructor and therapist may recommend one of the following:
- Lessons or therapy for skill retraining and/or to practice use of adaptive devices or compensatory strategies;
- A driving re-evaluation after a period of time to allow for additional recovery;
- Independent driving is not possible at this time; or
- Return to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) for courtesy drive and vision screen.
Evaluation at the Indiana BMV
Upon successful completion of the driving evaluation at Hook Outpatient, the client should return to the BMV for a vision and courtesy drive test. If they are completed successfully, the client will receive a written affidavit or an updated license to reflect readiness to return to independent driving.
Insurance companies vary on providing coverage for the driving evaluation. It is the client’s responsibility to pay the hospital/clinic at the time of the evaluation, unless other funding arrangements have been made.
Make an appointment
For an appointment or to make a referral, please call Hook Rehabilitation at 317-355-2320.