CDRS: Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist

For many people, driving is just another part of daily life. We may commute to work, run weekly errands, or even take a road trip without thinking about the freedom a vehicle provides. For those with disabilities, the thought of getting behind the wheel may feel overwhelming. With the help of a certified driver rehabilitation specialist (CDRS®), many people with disabilities can learn to drive and gain or maintain independence.

What is a CDRS?

A CDRS is a certified driver rehabilitation specialist. These specialists are generally health care professionals who have both medical expertise and extensive training in driver rehabilitation. To become a certified driver rehabilitation specialist, practitioners must successfully pass a rigorous exam offered by The Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists (ADED). Completion of the CDRS exam demonstrates an individual’s ability to provide professional driver rehabilitation services to those with disabilities. Certified driver rehabilitation specialists must meet continual educational requirements over time to maintain their certification and continue providing driver rehabilitation services to disabled drivers. Each CDRS must abide by ADED’s Best Practice Guidelines and Code of Ethics to ensure driver evaluations and training create safe outcomes for drivers with disabilities.

What Does a CDRS Do?

Certified driver rehabilitation specialists work with individuals with disabilities who may need adaptations to drive a vehicle. A certified driver rehabilitation specialist will first complete a comprehensive driver evaluation. This driver evaluation will assess any visual, cognitive, or functional limitations that may impact a driver’s ability to safely operate a vehicle. The evaluation will also determine individual needs for driver training or adaptive driving devices.

Multiple types of adaptive driving devices are available to meet the needs of disabled drivers.

  • Hand controls: Often used by drivers with lower limb paralysis, hand controls allow the driver to operate a vehicle using only their hands.
  • Spinner knobs: Typically used in conjunction with hand controls, spinner knobs allow drivers to steer their vehicle with one hand. Spinner knobs come in different styles and can be placed on multiple points of the steering wheel to accommodate a range of disabilities.
  • Foot controls: Left foot accelerators can be used to accommodate those who cannot drive with their right foot.
  • Extension controls: Some drivers may have a hard time reaching the gear shift, foot pedals, turn signals, or other vehicle controls. Extension controls can be installed to accommodate a driver’s needs.
  • Orthotic driving controls: For those with little to no hand function, orthotic driving controls can be customized to fit the needs of drivers with limited fine and gross motor skills.
  • Handicap accessible vehicles: Ideal for both wheelchair users and their caregivers, wheelchair accessible vehicles can be fitted with wheelchair accessible ramps, swivel seats, or wheelchair securement systems.

Finding the right adaptive driving equipment to accommodate an individual’s needs is vital to keeping the driver and passengers safe. If you’re unsure what adaptive driving equipment you need, contact your local mobility dealer to find a certified driver rehabilitation specialist near you.

Driving Services for Disabled People

Some people with disabilities can drive, while others cannot. A CDRS can assess your physical and cognitive abilities to safely operate a vehicle. If you need adaptive driving equipment, your CDRS will provide you with equipment and training so you can safely operate your vehicle. If a CDRS determines that you cannot drive safely, rideshare services or non-emergency medical transport may be more appropriate.

CDRS vs Driving Rehabilitation Specialists

When looking for driver rehabilitation programs, be aware that certified driver rehabilitation specialists and driving rehabilitation specialists do not provide the same services. Driver rehabilitation specialists may work with disabled individuals or elderly people to help drivers develop or improve driving skills. These specialists typically conduct driving evaluations to determine whether a person can drive safely and what kind of adaptive equipment they might need. Some, but not all driver rehabilitation specialists have medical expertise. Certified driver rehabilitation specialists work closely with disabled individuals. CDRS have medical expertise and provide disabled drivers with training on how to properly use adaptive driving equipment. Driver rehabilitation professionals (DRP) are also recognized by ADED. These professionals earn a micro-credential, which allows them to provide basic driver rehabilitation services to those with disabilities.

If you’re looking to fit a car with adaptive driving equipment, it’s a good idea to contact your local dealer to find a driver rehabilitation program that fits your needs.

Our Product Specialists Team is Here to Help

Feeling overwhelmed? Whether you’re looking for more information on driver rehabilitation programs, adaptive driving devices, or wheelchair accessible vehicles, your local mobility dealer is here to help. Contact a mobility product specialist today

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