Occupational Therapy Australia (OTAUS)

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OTAUS Driving Assessments

Occupational Therapy Australia (OTAUS) is Australia’s leading national association for Occupational Therapists (OT). It provides supervision, ongoing educational support, continuing professional development (CPD) assistance and monitoring, and workshops for qualified Occupational Therapists. On top of providing Occupational Therapists with continuous support as they manoeuvre through their careers, it is also a good resource for patients and consumers who are looking for OT services, as they also provide information to the general public regarding Occupational Therapy assessments and interventions. They are contactable via phone, email and the internet.

This association ensures that endorsed Occupational Therapists have the relevant qualifications and are approved and currently registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). AHPRA is the national mandatory governing body of all medical, nursing and allied health clinicians across Australia. Individuals are able to verify that the health professional that is treating or providing an intervention or service is qualified and meets Australian health standards. They are also able to make complaints regarding health professionals through AHPRA, who will then make decisions about furthering an investigation about the complaint.

When an individual sustains an injury or is diagnosed with a medical condition or disability that could impact their ability to drive safely and to RMS standards, the RMS (Roads and Maritime Service) of NSW must be notified. Legally, it is the prime responsibility of the individual (driver) to inform the RMS, however it is common for the general public to be unaware about this requirement. Often, what occurs is that the person’s doctor (usually GP or specialist) or family member raises concerns to the RMS about the person’s reduced driving capacity. The doctor also usually indicates on the RMS ‘fitness to drive’ form that they want the driver to have a driving assessment, to resolve any doubts about the person’s driving.

Once the person’s doctor notifies the RMS, the individual will then receive formal notification (usually in the form of a letter in the post) that they are required to undertake an Occupational Therapy Driving Assessment. The purpose of an Occupational Therapy Driving Assessment is to determine if the individual’s injury and/or medical condition impacts on their ability to drive to RMS safety standards. The OTs who perform this specific assessment has acquired a special qualification to be able to conduct these driving assessments. Individuals are then required to organise themselves an Occupational Therapy Driving Assessment by finding a suitable OT service.

The website https://www.otaus.com.au has a list of qualified Driver Trained Occupational Therapists that can be contacted to conduct Occupational Therapy Driving Assessments. This allows the individual to select and contact an OT that operates close to the person’s residence to complete the driving assessment.

The OT will ask the person about their situation, medical condition in relation to driving (why they have been asked to do one and who referred them) and their situation regarding their need to drive (personal/social history). It is important to give as much accurate information as possible so that the OT can decide how to best help you during the driving assessment.

The OT driving assessment’s sole purpose is to look at a person’s current level of functioning in relation to driving and to develop strategies to try to assist the person in returning to driving as safely as possible. Generally, the OT driving assessment will have one of three possible outcomes:

1. The assessment determines that the medical condition/disability is not currently impacting on the person’s driving performance. The OT will recommend that they can return to driving as they were previously.

2. The assessment determines that the medical condition is affecting the individual’s driving, and they will need vehicle modifications (for physical conditions/injuries) and/or further driving lessons to improve their driving skills to meet current legal standards. They will require a driving reassessment down the line.

3. The assessment determines that the medical condition has decreased the person’s driving capacity and they are no longer driving safely. Car modifications or lessons will not be helpful to improve the person’s driving skills, and the OT will recommend that their licence is cancelled.
The Occupational Therapists at Modified Driving Solutions have been registered members of OTAUS since 2014. They have performed OT driving assessments on individuals with a wide variety of medical conditions, disabilities and of all ages to help them meet their goals of returning to driving.


OTAUS Driving Assessments