Driving is a valuable skill that enhances independence and helps individuals stay connected to their communities. It is possible to drive with a physical disability if certain standards are met. It is important that the rules under the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) are followed.
Driving with a minor disability
If ot driving assessment is in question and no other medical conditions are experienced by the amputee, it is not required to conduct a medical review or report or disability driving test.
Minor disabilities include loss of toes, loss of three fingers or less on each hand, slight stiffness, and having a limb slightly shorter than the other.
If you have a minor disability, you should be able to continue driving under your current license without special conditions needing to be met.
Driving with a serious disability
Serious physical disabilities can hinder the process of driving and include the loss and impairment of one or both arms, legs, or hands. Having a serious physical disability often requires vehicle modifications in order to meet RMS road safety standards.
You will first need to provide a satisfactory medical report to the RMS before anything else. You may be referred to a modified driving solutions provider, who can assess your ability to drive safely and inform what aids or modifications are specifically necessary for your case.
Once these modifications are fitted in your vehicle, you can familiarize yourself with the new controls and practice until you feel that you’re ready for the assessment. Whether you are a current license holder or a first-time driver, you will have to take a disability driving test to be issued or keep your license.
Occupational therapy driving assessment
It can be hard for the doctor to determine whether you are fit to drive and what modifications are necessary, considering that driving is a complex activity. It may be recommended that you complete an Occupational Therapy driving assessment to completely gauge your ability to drive safety.
This driving assessment has two components to it – an off-road assessment and an on-road assessment. These tests will help determine what kind of modifications must be made to ensure safe driving on the road.
In the off-road aspect of the assessment, the Occupational Therapist will conduct a cognitive, physical, and visual screening. They will also look at your medical history. This examination will help to understand the extent of the physical condition and identify any other issues that may be present. The Occupational Therapist will establish what modifications or aids are necessary for the on-road component.
In the on-road portion, you will be driving a dual-controlled vehicle with the Occupational Therapist and a Driving Instructor conducting the assessment. This test will be conducted in your local area and determine whether your amputation affects your ability to drive safely and if further modifications are necessary.
Every individual is different, and the outcomes of this driving assessment vary case by case. However, it is often the case that lessons are necessary to become acquainted with driving the vehicle with modifications or aids. You will need to pass a disability driving test conducted by the RMS in order to be issued a full license.