Stroke is a medical condition that impacts people in various ways and differs in severity. After an individual has sustained a stroke they are required by law to notify the RMS of their medical condition. This is usually completed by their treating specialist or GP. The individual is then notified by the RMS that they are required to undertake an Occupational Therapy Driving Assessment. Usually, doctors allow for a 3-6 month time period after the stroke before recommending that an individual undertakes an Occupational Therapy Driving Assessment.

The Occupational Therapy Driving Assessment assesses the 3 areas that are required for driving a vehicle: vision, cognition and physical capacity. Unfortunately, stroke can affect all 3 of these areas. The Occupational Therapist at Modified Driving Solutions will go to the individual’s home and assess all 3 of these areas. Any deficits that are detected are documented and made known to the individual.  Once this is completed the individual completes a 1 hour drive in their local area with the Occupational Therapist and a Driving Instructor. The focus of the driving assessment is to determine if any of the deficits that were detected earlier, or the symptoms of the stroke, impact on the person’s ability to drive competently.

Driving after a Stroke

There are 4 potential outcomes of the Occupational Therapy Driving Assessment.

  1. It is determined that the stroke does not impact on the person’s ability to drive safely and to RMS standards. The Occupational Therapist will send a report to both the RMS and to the individual’s doctor. The individual will then be able to continue driving with an unrestricted licence.
  2. It is determined that the person requires vehicle modifications. This generally occurs when the individual has sustained physical deficits due to the stoke e.g. left arm weakness. In this case, the individual will require additional lessons with an instructor and then complete an RMS Disability Driving Assessment before they can resume driving.
  3. It is determined that the stroke is impacting on the person’s ability to drive and is resulting in some errors that require lessons with a driving instructor to rectify. With this outcome, the Occupational Therapist will state that the individual will require a certain amount of lessons with a driving instructor to overcome the assessed deficits or errors. The Occupational Therapist may also request that the individual complete another on-road driving assessment with the Occupational Therapist depending on the severity of the identified errors. Once the individual completes the lessons and can drive safely, a report is sent to the RMS and to the individual’s doctor, and the person can continue to drive with an unrestricted licence.
  4. The fourth outcome is a cancelation of the licence generally this only occurs when an individual is unable to rectify/ show improvement with a driving deficits. This is generally cognitive in nature e.g. issues with concentration, attention and decision making.