In today’s society, the ability to drive is a crucial component of a person's independence. However, driving often seems an unattainable goal for those who are limited by illness, injury, psychological or physiological changes associated with aging. UofL Health – Frazier Rehab Institute's comprehensive Driver Education and Training Program helps these individuals gain back their independence in driving.
Within the program occupational therapy professionals, certified as driver rehab specialists, work closely with physicians to review the participants' medical and driving history, perform a pre-driving and vehicle evaluation, behind-the-wheel evaluation and, if necessary, training and equipment recommendations. All participants are given every opportunity to maximize their driving potential before completing the program.
Candidates for drivers education and training
Candidates for the UofL Health – Frazier Rehab Institute Driver Training and Education Program include:
- Individuals with physical impairments interested in returning to driving
- Individuals with physical or cognitive limitations who are unaware of their potential to drive
- Anyone needing information on driving issues concerning the following:
- Visual impairments
- Older drivers
- Congenital disabilities
- Cardiac, orthopedic or spinal conditions, illnesses or injuries
- Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related syndromes and neurological impairments
Evaluation and training are also offered to new drivers with physical or psychosocial deficits such as ADHD, Spina Bifida, CP and Multiple Sclerosis.
Participants must have a valid driver's license or permit, be physically and medically stable and seizure-free for three months, and possess the endurance to tolerate a two-hour evaluation. Individuals with visual disturbances or visual field cuts will be given a form to present to an ophthalmologist prior to the evaluation.
UofL Health – Frazier Rehab Institute’s comprehensive driving program provides:
The evaluation begins with a review of the participant’s medical/driving history, personal driving goals and a thorough evaluation of driving capacities, including:
- Physical range of motion
- Compliance with legal vision requirements for Kentucky
- Knowledge of road rules
- Reaction times
- Problem-solving/decision-making ability
After the pre-driving evaluation, an on-the-road assessment with a certified driver rehab specialist in a Frazier Rehab education vehicle is performed. The assessment typically begins in a low-traffic area and progresses to more complex situations, as the driver feels more comfortable. The program assists participants in building the confidence necessary to drive.
Individualized driving training
At the conclusion of the on-road evaluation, recommendations may be made for driver training. The participant is then provided with behind-the-wheel training with a certified driver rehab specialist to improve all skills needed for independent driving. Training is performed in the same training vehicle used in the on-the-road assessment and with any needed adaptive equipment/modifications.
Vehicle and equipment evaluation
Evaluations are made to determine if adaptive equipment or modifications are needed. Modifications to the vehicle will compensate for limited physical, visual or emotional deficits. If adaptive devices are recommended, a prescription is written for the participant and referrals are made to local businesses licensed in vehicle modifications.
Occasionally, an individual can initiate or return to driving only under certain restrictions, such as daytime driving only. The program will also make these recommendations on an individual basis.
Frazier is a certified member of the Association of Driver Educators for the Disabled.