Can I drive with a physical or medical condition or disability?
If you have received a medical diagnosis, you may be wondering if you are able to drive or continue driving. It is common for people to feel worried that they will no longer be able to drive once they become diagnosed with a disability or serious medical condition. Similarly, new or aspiring drivers who have existing conditions may be unsure if they are able to learn how to drive.
At Modified Driving Solutions, we can assess your situation and help you get on the road and develop a rehabilitation program tailored to suit your unique needs. We service the Bondi area and surrounding Eastern Suburbs.
The OT driving assessment process in Bondi and the Eastern Suburbs
A driver trained OT is a university-trained health professional who has a specialised qualification to determine if a person’s disability or medical diagnosis is impacting on their driving capacity. While your Doctor may raise concerns about your driving capacity and perform some medical assessments to help determine your fitness to drive, they are unable to witness you driving, which is the most practical way to appraise your driving ability. This is where the OT driving assessment is able to help.
At Modified Driving Solutions, our friendly OT’s and driving instructors visit you at home in Bondi for your convenience. There are two parts to the assessment:
- The OT will perform 3 small tests looking at your eyesight, cognitive capacity and physical capacity. This is to determine if there are any obvious issues in any of these areas that may affect your driving. For example, a physical illness or disability may require you to drive with a vehicle modification, which the OT will prescribe.
- You will drive the driving instructor’s vehicle, which has dual controls for everyone’s safety. You will be asked to drive for 1 hour in all types of traffic conditions. The assessment is only focused on how your medical condition may be impacting on your driving performance and overlooks minor errors you make because of poor driving habit, anxiety due to exam situation, or being unfamiliar with the car. As long as the driving instructor is not required to physically intervene (by activating the emergency brake or controlling the steering wheel), you should have a positive outcome for the assessment.
After the assessment, the OT will go through the results with you, including what you need to do next. The OT will then organise the report, which will be sent to your referring Doctor, RMS and any other relevant party.
What are the possible outcomes following the assessment?
It is important to remember that every driver’s situation is different. However, in general, there are 3 possible outcomes and recommendations the OT may make:
1. The assessment determines that your medical condition is not currently affecting your driving skills, and the OT will recommend that you can return to driving as normal.
2. The OT recommends that you undergo additional driving lessons to improve some of the errors observed in the assessment. If the OT prescribes a vehicle modification, this will be endorsed on your licence. You will then require lessons to learn how to us the modification to meet RMS standards, and you will have to attend the RMS disability test.
3. The assessment determines that your medical diagnosis is interfering with your driving performance and you are no longer driving safely. The OT assesses that driving lessons or modifications will not help you and will recommend that your licence is cancelled.
What about learner drivers? Is the process the same?
For learner drivers, the process outlined above still applies. When you apply for your learner licence, you should declare to the RMS that you have a medical condition that may potentially affect your driving. If you are unsure, please see your treating Doctor for clarification.
The main difference for learner drivers is that the OT driving assessment’s purpose is to recommend how many driving lessons you are expected to need before reaching your provisional licence. As new drivers are inexperienced, it will take time to ascertain whether or not their disability or medical diagnosis is affecting their driving performance.