Driver Assessment (DAx) is a specialised field of Occupational Therapy which requires additional post-graduate study. The aim of a DAx is to support people driving as long as is safely possible.
When To Refer:
- If a client has had their licence medically suspended and they require assistance to demonstrate their capacity to regain their licence.
- If a family member raises concerns about driving. Examples of issues that would warrant an assessment would be:
- Finding lane changing difficult to do.
- Finding roundabouts difficult to use.
- Driving very slowly (20+km/h< speed limit).
- Confusing left and right.
- Becoming disorientated on short trips.
- Driving on the wrong side of the road.
- Unexplained damage to car.
- Accidents or near misses.
- Commencement or increase in traffic violations/fines.
- If a GP/Specialist raises concerns about driving.
- If a client states experiencing difficulty driving or that they now feel unable to independently drive and are requesting transport assistance. They may be able to safely extend their driving career through DAx and intervention.
- If a client has had a long break from driving and wants to recommence driving.
- When a diagnosis of Dementia is made.
How to Refer:
Email or phone Adapt with a request for driver assessment. You can use our referral form but generally we require the following information:
- Reason for Referral
- Medical History/Medications
- Treating Doctor Details
- Licence Status
In order to take a client out on an assessment they must be licenced to drive. If their licence is suspended, then they will require their treating GP/Specialist to complete the following medical certificate for the purposes of completing the assessment.
Download form here.
This must be completed before we can accept a referral if the client is not currently licenced.
The information below is really an FYI in terms of how the assessment works and what it is comprised of. We explain these details to clients upon referral but it’s always good to have on hand if clients ask or when you are explaining why this service would be important for them participate in.
The DAx is completed on 2 sections:
1. Pre-On Road Assessment:
This section comprises an interview and comprehensive clinical assessment and includes:
- Medical Background
- Driving History and Status
- Vision Assessment
- Physical Assessment
- Decision Making, Judgement and Insight in relation to Driving.
- Practical awareness and knowledge of road law.
This commonly takes 2 hours.
2. On Road Assessment:
This section is undertaken on the road in a dual controlled driving instructors’ vehicle. The client has a 10-15-minute period of vehicle familiarisation before the assessment commences. An assessment route is formulated to provide the client a wide range of road and traffic conditions. Both the Driving instructor (front seat) and the OT (rear passenger side) will travel in the vehicle for the assessment.
After completion of the DAx the OT and Driving Instructor will provide verbal feedback to the client as to their conclusions. A report will also be completed to be lodged with the GP or Specialist and the Department of Transport and Main Roads.
In the report the OT will make recommendations as to the driving capacity of the client. Common recommendations are:
- Return/continue driving
- Return/continue driving with a condition to be placed on the licence (e.g. must only drive during daylight hours or must use specialist equipment to drive such as a spinner knob)
- Driver Rehabilitation sessions to increase confidence, improve driving skills or to develop techniques to accommodate assessed limitations. A further DAx is required in this instance to reassess capacity after driver rehab sessions.
- Driver Rehabilitation sessions to develop confidence and ability to use specialist equipment. A further DAx is required in this instance to reassess capacity after driver rehab sessions.
- Not to return/continue driving and cancellation of licence.
- Not to return/continue driving until sufficient recovery has been achieved. Once again, a further DAx would need to be completed.
We’re passionate about assisting people early before driving capacity is queried, a Licence is suspended or an accident occurs. We encourage you to contact us early so we can assist your clients to remain safely driving.
The Road Ahead – A guide to occupational therapy driving assessments: Download here