female driver in car

Driving Assessments

"Confidence replaces worry when you get a safe driving assessment!"

The Association of Driver Rehabilitation Specialists (ADED) recommends that every person get evaluated for adapted driving and that adaptations and modifications are recommended individually. A person undergoing driving rehabilitation will actually receive a prescription for vehicle modifications, just as one is prescribed a leg brace by a sports medicine doctor, or oral medication from an internist.

Having a driving assessment is strongly advised for anyone about to begin driving with a disability who:

Has never driven before or never driven since a disability occurred and/or

Is ambivalent about his or her physical ability regarding maneuvering a vehicle, seeing, or reacting quickly to other vehicles, and/or

Whose overall physical ability has changed following an accident or progression of disease or illness.


Sometimes an elderly driver must be re-evaluated following a change in perception or other physical ability such as vision. It's not only a suggestion to have a driving assessment in these cases, but absolutely imperative in order to ensure personal safety for all drivers on the road. Becoming road-ready involves preparing both the driver and vehicle.

A driving rehabilitation program will arm a driver with whatever training is needed, if any, as well as any prescriptions needed for vehicle modification. This gives a driver confidence that he or she will be driving safely, and therefore, free to hit the road!


Here is What to Expect from a Driving Assessment

First, a qualified driver rehabilitation specialist (in a driver rehabilitation program) will make a clinical evaluation of physical functioning, perform a visual, perceptive and cognitive screening, and where applicable, conduct a wheelchair and seating assessment.

Then, depending on ability, an on-the-road driving evaluation is performed, using adaptive equipment when appropriate.

Based on demonstrated driving performance, a prescription for vehicle modification is written, which includes a description of the vehicle and any mobility aid (wheelchair or scooter) used.     

Driver's education will include sufficient practice and training to enable the driver to operate a motor vehicle with newly prescribed equipment (if any), at a level meeting the need for a driver's license.

Finally a total fitting and operational assessment is performed in the modified vehicle.


Who Performs Driving Assessments?

There are two types of professionals who conduct driver evaluations: CDRS and DRS.  The CDRS is a Driver Rehabilitation Specialist (DRS) with additional training and certification. A DRS typically has a health professional degree (such as occupational therapy) with additional training specific to driver evaluationa and rehabilitation. CDRS individuals pass certification exams and are required to complete continuing education to maintain their credentials. 


Types of Programs

Please see this document, Spectrum of Driver Services and Driver Rehabilitation Program Services which defines the range of driving programs, ranging from driving school for healthy drivers to driver rehabilitation programs. It assists consumers in understanding the differences of driver services where to go for each.  

CDRS and DRS Searchable Directory by country and state