Driver Assessment

Allay provides Occupational Therapy Driver Assessments for people experiencing psychosocial disabilities such as mental health, Autism or Intellectual Disability, or those that have seen their physical capabilities change with age and time. OTs certified with VicRoads will complete assessments in the clinic and on the road, to identify factors that may impact on ability to drive or gain a learners, probationary or full license. A rehabilitation or learning program is then devised with the aim of enhancing a person’s safety and independence to maximise their active lifestyle.


What is the role of an Allay Occupational Therapist?

Driving is a complex task that requires a variety of skills. An OT Driver Assessment will determine the individual skills of the driver and their safety during driving. This may include:

  • Clinical Assessment,
  • On-Road Assessment,
  • Development of Driver Rehabilitation Program or Driving Lesson Program,
  • Prescription of conditions on licencing to promote safety.
Clinical Assessment: A series of assessments in clinic or at home to determine the everyday skills needed to drive a car safely, legally and independently. These may include vision, hearing, strength and endurance, range of movement, cognitive capacity and knowledge of road rules.

On-Road Assessment: A on-road with you to observe you safely navigating every day road conditions. This will be conducted in conjunction with a Driving School in a dual control car. The outcome of the assessment is discussed following the drive. Outcomes may include continuing to drive as usual, designing a Driver Rehabilitation or Driving Lesson Program, or recommending ceasing driving. A report is written and is sent to VicRoads.

Driver Rehabilitation Programs or Driving Lesson Program: A  program may be developed to support recovery or learning of new driving and road skills. These programs are facilitated by Driving Instructors under the guidance of the occupational therapist.


Who might see an Allay Occupational Therapist for an OT Driver Assessment

A driver or learner driver may require a tailored program to build skills, be concerned about safe driving or have been requested by VicRoads to have an OT Driver Assessment. Common areas that may benefit from an assessment may be:

  • Difficulties with vision or hearing,
  • Difficulties with reaction times, coordination or clumsiness,
  • Difficulties with behaviours or emotions, such as getting upset or confused,
  • Difficulties with concentration,
  • Difficulties with awareness of their surroundings,
  • Difficulties with their driving, such as getting lost in familiar places, becoming aggressive,
  • Having a crash.
Driver responsibilities: All Victorian drivers are required to notify VicRoads if they have an illness or disability that may impair their ability to drive safely (Road Safety Driver’s Regulations, 1999). VicRoads may request the driver undergo tests to ensure a person is fit to drive (Road Safety Act, 1986).

Drivers must notify their insurance company of their medical condition and/or any vehicle modifications they may require. If the insurer, is not aware of these, they may deny liability for damages to either property or persons in the event of an accident.

Community responsibilities: If you are concerned about a family, friend or member of your community and their driving, you can write via email or post to VicRoads, you can remain anonymous if you prefer. VicRoads will follow-up on your concern and may recommend they have an assessment with an occupational therapist.

What is the background to OT Driver  Assessments?

An OT Driver Assessment is a standardised approach to assessing sensory, physical and cognitive processes that may impact on driving. Utilising data to understand the skills sets of driving and their potential impact on independence and safety. Alongside a practical on-road assessment that identifies capacity in areas that are a requirement of driving on Australian roads.

Both of these assessment outcomes are combined and analysed objectively to determine a driver’s capacity to drive and guide the type of rehabilitation required.