The OT driving assessment
People with dementia need to be thoroughly assessed to find out how the condition is affecting their driving. As your doctor does not see you drive, driver trained OT assumes this role. In NSW, a driver trained OT has authority to determine medical fitness to drive. Your doctor may recommend you to an OT service in your area.
The OT driving assessment consist of two parts: the off-road and on-road assessments.
The off-road assessment is usually completed first. The OT checks the three areas needed for driving: vision, cognition and physical capacity. In dementia, deficits may be identified in the cognitive assessment.
The on-road assessment is the practical driving test where you drive under the observation of the OT and driving instructor. You will be asked to drive for around one hour. The focus is on how dementia is currently impacting on your driving (if at all). The OT wants to ensure that you are driving safely and to RMS standards.
After the assessment, the OT will let you know the outcomes and further recommendations. There are generally three potential outcomes:
- You are currently driving safely and can maintain your licence
- You made some errors in the assessment and the OT recommends some driving lessons and a driving reassessment
- You are not currently driving safely and your licence is cancelled
The OT will complete the report and notify your doctor and the RMS of the results. Due to the degenerative nature of dementia, your doctor will monitor your condition and you will requiring regular OT driving assessments.