When do I need an OT driving assessment?
If your doctor clears you for driving after a stroke, they will usually give the following advice:
Once a rehabilitation program has been established, you will have to undergo an OT driving assessment after a stroke. This is because the most thorough way to determine the effects of driving after a stroke is to observe the person as they operate the vehicle. As it is a practical task that doctors don’t specialise in, the driver-trained OT is the most suitable to complete this assessment. Indeed, the OT driving assessment is endorsed by the RMS in NSW to fully determine medical fitness to operate a vehicle.
The OT driving assessment is comprised of two parts:
1. Off-road test looking at your visual, cognitive and physical skills and abilities.
2. On-road test whereby you will drive under the observation of the OT and driving instructor.
The OT sends the report to the RMS, who will then action the OT’s recommendations.
Driving after a stroke with vehicle modifications
If the stroke has affected your physical abilities to operate a car, the driver-trained OT will prescribe appropriate vehicle modifications so you drive according to legal standards. In such cases, the OT driving assessment’s goal is to determine the vehicle modifications you require. Once the OT has prescribed your modifications, you will undergo driving lessons to learn how to drive with the changes. During this period, your licence is downgraded to a learner’s licence, as you have lessons in preparation for the RMS disability driving test. Once you can drive safely with the modifications in all traffic conditions, the final step to driving after a stroke is to undergo the RMS driving test. When you pass this test with the RMS, your licence will upgrade to your previous C class and endorse your modifications on your licence. You will legally be required to always drive with your modifications from that point forward.