Life with a handicap can be tough. Being able to use a motor vehicle is a luxury and something we should be very grateful for. Some people become handicapped or are born with a handicap and because of their disadvantage, are unable to operate a motor vehicle. On the other hand, those with more minor injuries can operate a motor vehicle; however, they have to pass an OT driving assessment. So, if you are someone who is disadvantaged by some form of a handicap or are looking for guidance for someone else, make sure you read through this checklist before you get involved in an OT driving assessment.

 

What does an OT driving assessment consist of?

The tests consist of two core components: the first is called the off-road evaluation. This commences when a trained occupational therapist and assessor meets at the person’s home. The examiner will be looking for any medical conditions that may severely undermine the person’s capacity to use a car in a safe manner. This part of the exam takes place outside of the car and doesn’t take a whole lot of time.

Following the off-road part of the test, the second component of the OT driving assessment begins: the on-road component of the test. This will occur in the person’s local suburb or area, so don’t fret if you’re preparing for one yourself. You won’t have to navigate your vehicle on roads you are unfamiliar with. During this time, a qualified instructor is present as the person navigates their car.

Following the test, the person will receive their results. Unlike a conventional vehicle test, the person will not just be told if they passed or failed. Instead, their result will include important recommendations regarding how they performed and any modifications they need to make to their car. This will include modifying the car so the handicapped person can operate it in a much safer manner. The results are sent to the individual and forwarded on to the RMS (Roads and Maritime Services).

 

Who must complete an OT driving assessment?

man while driving

You will not have to complete a test if you suffer from only a minor condition. A minor condition is classed as an injury that does not undermine your faculty to operate a car. This includes a loss of up to three fingers on a single hand or loss of toes.

Conversely, a more serious handicap will likely require you to pass an OT driving assessment. If you are unable to use one or both of your legs/arms, you will need to pass the test. In this case, you will have to demonstrate to your instructor that you can operate your car using special aids fitted in your car. Examples include artificial limbs, a modified car seat or some form of steering wheel support. You might have to have special, elongated indicator switches if you can’t reach them in a conventional vehicle.

 

What is being examined?

Learning to operate a car is tough enough as it is without having a handicap. During an OT driving assessment, the RMS applies a series of important principles. Indeed, if you have an appliance or aid fixed to your car, it can’t distract or undermine you operating a car. If it’s too bulky, your assessor might ask you to have it refitted before you next hop in the vehicle.

You have to be able to demonstrate that you can effectively use any artificial limbs you may require. The brake and accelerator pads can be refitted and moved if required. If you only have the use of one arm, you are still able to pass your OT driving assessment, so long as you can reach all the important controls, without taking your hand off the steering wheel.