What is the Disabled Driving Test?
What is a Driver Evaluation?
A disabled driving test or driver evaluation, as it is more commonly referred, is a set of assessments that examine your physical and cognitive abilities to safely operate a motor vehicle independently.
When Do I Need a Driver Evaluation Exam?
As we age and our abilities change, it’s often a good idea to take an exam if you are at all concerned about these changes impeding your ability to operate your vehicle. This could be due to arthritis, carpal tunnel, osteoporosis, night blindness or other conditions or injuries. If you’ve grown up with a disability, you will have a driver evaluation exam that may look different from the exam your peers may take as they come of age to get their driver’s license.
You may be referred to a driving exam by a physician, specialist, eye doctor, occupational therapist, driving school, gerontologist, parents or spouses.
Who Will Give Me a Driving Evaluation?
Typically, an occupational therapist or a certified driving rehabilitation specialist will be the one to administer the driving evaluation. An occupational therapist is a health care professional that helps to promote independence for adults by helping them to acquire meaningful jobs, reliable transportation or assistive technology. Often an occupational therapist will work with you after an injury or if you have a physical, intellectual or behavioral disability. A certified driving rehabilitation specialist can also be an occupational therapist who receives this accreditation by the Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists (ADED). This states that the practitioner has been formally certified in the full spectrum of driver rehabilitation services.
What is Being Tested in a Driving Evaluation?
The purpose of a driving evaluation is to examine your ability to safely drive yourself and others by examining your physical, visual, and mental capabilities. This includes specific tests around your reaction time, visual acuity, and decision making. In some cases of a disabled driving test, your therapist may help you find adaptive solutions like a wide-angle mirror, hand controls, or provide additional information on community transportation options that can replace or cut down on trips you make with your personal vehicle.
What Adaptive Solutions Are Available for Me?
Your evaluator may suggest a range of adaptive equipment to make your driving experience more comfortable and safer. These include mobility solutions like:
- A fully-integrated wheelchair accessible vehicle
- A wheelchair lift
- A transfer seat, like the BraunAbility Transfer Seat
- Hand controls
- Foot pedal extensions
- Securement systems for a wheelchair
- Electronic driving systems
What Can I Expect when Taking the Driver Evaluation?
The assessment can span from 3 to 8 hours and is customized to the needs of each unique individual.
Will Insurance Pay for the Evaluation?
No, insurance plans will not cover the cost of the disabled driving test.
Will Insurance Pay for Adaptive Equipment?
No, insurance plans often will not cover the cost of adaptive equipment. However, you should check your local services to see if they can give financial aid to your needs.
- Your state vocational rehabilitation services
- Workers compensation (if applicable)
- Veteran Administration (if applicable)
- Your insurance provider
- Your state or national grants and funds for assistive technology
You can find a listing of certified driving instructors at the ADED website.
Still Have Questions About the Driving Evaluation?
Check out this page to see the 5 Most Commonly Asked Questions on Driving a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle, learn how to get a handicap parking permit, and other key requirements for the disabled driving test.
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