Driving with a disability

8. April 2022 :

We understand that driving is an important role in an individual’s life to help maintain their independence and freedom when driving with a disability; it’s why we do what we do.

A recent diagnosis, a current condition worsening or an unexpected accident can be some of the reasons in which you may find yourself starting to research how to drive with a disability or with adaptive driving equipment.

Let’s start at the beginning:

Step 1. Find your local Driver Rehabilitation Specialist

driving with a disability - ADED Logo

What is a Driver Rehabilitation Specialist?

Driver rehabilitation specialists work with people of all ages and abilities, exploring transportation solutions for drivers with limited mobility and/or disabilities. They are professionals with backgrounds in healthcare or driver education who have completed additional training and education in the field of driver rehabilitation.

The most knowledgeable of the specialists are Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialists (CDRS) who are trained and certified by ADED (The Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists).

How will a Driver Rehabilitation Specialist help me?

They will be able to facilitate and guide you through the whole process of driving with a disability or limited mobility:

  1. Conduct a thorough evaluation of abilities and limitations
  2. Provide driver remediation and training
  3. Assist with navigating the state driver licensing process
  4. Work closely with mobility equipment dealers to ensure your vehicle is kitted out

Where can I find my local Driver Rehabilitation Specialist and how can I arrange an appointment?

ADED is the best place to find your local Driver Rehabilitation Specialist as they maintain the most up to date list. And because they are the only organization that can grant certifications for a Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist (CDRS), it is the only trusted site to find a CDRS.

You can either refer yourself to a driver rehabilitation program or referrals can be made by physicians, specialists, eye doctors, occupational therapists, driving schools, gerontologists, parents or spouses.

Step 2.Complete your driver evaluation

What can I expect in my driver evaluation?

The evaluation will typically include tests of physical function, vision, perception, attention, motor function, and reaction time, as well as actual driving performance tests.

Although it may seem daunting, it really isn’t! The evaluation is there to benefit you and to determine if you require any adaptive driving equipment and whether you may need extra driver rehabilitation or behind the wheel training.

How much does a driver evaluation cost?

Costs range and vary depending on the provider, type of driver rehabilitation program, and length of time required to complete the evaluation. Some providers accept medical insurance while others charge a fee-for-service. We would always recommend that you ask about costs, billing, and financial support when contacting your local driver rehabilitation specialist.  

Step 3. Driving with adaptive equipment

Driving Aids

What types of driving equipment does a Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist recommend?

There are many vehicle adaptations and driving aids available that help overcome a wide range of driving challenges and limitations when driving with a disability. To name a few: Wheelchair & Scooter Lifts, Person Lifts, Swivel Seats, Steering Controls, Hand Controls, Left Foot Accelerators and Vehicle Extensions.

Based on your driver evaluation, your Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist will be able to match your requirements with the appropriate adaptive equipment.

Will I receive any training of the adaptive equipment I have been prescribed?

Yes. It’s extremely important that you receive training of the vehicle adaptations to ensure you are comfortable and safe operating them and that they meet your needs. Not only this, but the training will allow you to prepare for the state’s driver licensing exam during the process of learning to drive with a disability.

How do I get my vehicle adapted with the driving equipment I need?

Once you have been provided with your prescription, this can then be delivered to a local qualified mobility equipment dealer. They will be able to work closely with your Driver Rehabilitation Specialist to ensure that your vehicle is fitted with the correct equipment and to your specifications.

Step 4. Enjoy your independence

Now you can enjoy your freedom and independence by getting behind the wheel and going wherever you want to go, whenever you want to go!

If you have any specific questions regarding vehicle adaptations and driving equipment, speak with our friendly team today.

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