OT driving assessment
Occupational therapy (OT) is a stream of allied health that concentrates on enhancing a person’s functioning and independence. An OT who performs driving assessments is called a driver trained occupational therapist, who has completed this special qualification and training.
The driving assessment’s purpose is to determine your fitness to drive relating to stroke and driving. It is important to note that as in any situation where a driver has been diagnosed with a new medical condition or experienced a serious medical event, safety is the biggest priority. The process for assessing the person’s stroke and driving is divided into two parts, and the OT and driving instructor usually visits you at home:
- Off-road section: The OT assesses your visual, cognitive and physical condition, looking for any crucial signs of deficits that may affect your driving.
- On-road section: You drive the driving instructor’s car (as it is dual-controlled for braking) in all traffic settings for one hour. The instructor is a rehabilitation driving instructor who is specialized in working with drivers with medical conditions.
The assessment is focused on evaluating the effects (if any) of the stroke and driving performance. The OT and driving instructor largely disregard small errors made, such as those due to anxiety under testing conditions, or mistakes committed related to being unfamiliar with the car. However, if the driving instructor needs to physically mediate (by applying the emergency brake or controlling the steering wheel), it is regarded as a crucial error and constitutes a ‘fail’ result. This is because you were unable to properly respond to a situation and would potentially have caused an accident without the instructor’s intervention.