What is the referral procedure?
A written Referral/Prescription is required from a physician. This can be faxed or e-mailed to the Driver Specialist in advance or provided in person to the therapist the day of initial contact. To schedule our services, all clients should have a current driver’s license or temporary permit. This allows the behind-the-wheel evaluation to take place on the highways. Otherwise the evaluation is limited to clinical evaluation only. If you do not have this, the Certified Driving Rehabilitation Specialist may be able to assist you in requesting it from your local DMV Drivers Safety Office. Clients must be seizure-free for at least at least 6 months (If not seizure-free, they must have a doctor’s waiver). Next the client must fill out the Driver Evaluation Request - (Download the form, answer the questions, and e-mail it back). The client must complete and submit BOTH these forms prior to time of services.
Client may also want to review the Consent, Contract & Release of Information Form prior to the session. They will need to sign this form prior to or at the time services are provided.
Can I drive my own car for the behind the wheel evaluation?
Yes, if no adaptive equipment is required. Driver Rehabilitation Specialists are often able to conduct the clinical evaluation at the client's home to determine strength and limitations - physically, visually, cognitively and perceptually as they relate to driving. Then a behind-the-wheel assessment in the client's own environment determines the ability to combine these skills to drive safely.
Do you accept appointments, and where do I go for an appointment?
All appointments are set upon receipt of completed Physician referral and pre-approval of payment for services. All services are provided either at the client’s location/home (cost of travel estimated at time appointment is scheduled), at local vendor (if a specialized vehicle is to be utilized) or at one of several local offices (Locations include: San Mateo & Palo Alto).
If I need adaptive equipment, do you direct me to a specific vehicle modifier for my modifications?
Due to the competitive nature of the vehicle modification industry, Driver Rehabilitation Services can provide a list of vehicle modifiers certified to install and service your adaptive equipment. If your needs are product specific and can only be acquired by a certain dealer or manufacturer, you will be informed of this issue. In every situation, the ideal customer is one that checks all the local vehicle modifiers, interviews them for service availability, warranty lengths, after-hours emergency service, and length of time needed for vehicle modification. We believe that the client should make their own informed choice of vehicle modifier.
How are your fees billed/invoiced?
Independent Living Program, Workers Compensation or private/self-pay are potential funding sources. If the client is private/self-pay, full payment is expected at the time the service is rendered. Private insurance, Medicare and Medicaid do not reimburse for driver evaluations or other services. Payment for services may be made by cash or check. Credit card payments will include a 4% service charge.
I have had a change in medical status, am I still allowed to drive?
Your doctor must be the one to medically clear you to drive. It is common that after an injury, your doctor may request and write a prescription for you to get a behind the wheel driving assessment by a Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist or Occupational Therapist. Often, the doctor will base their decision on the results reported back to them from this behind the wheel driving assessment.
Why should I report my change in medical status to the DMV?
In some cases, your doctor or healthcare team may have already reported to the DMV that you had a change in medical status and may not be safe to return to driving. If you are returning to driving and your doctor did not report a change in medical status to the DMV, it is important you report the change to protect yourself legally. For example, if you never reported a change in medical status to the DMV and you got into an accident that was not your fault, you will not have good documentation that you are safe and medically cleared to drive.
If I have been medically cleared to drive by my doctor, do I still need to report my change in medical status?
Yes. Call the DMV or DMV Driving Safety Office and request a driving re-evaluation. The next step to return to driving varies on a case by case basis. Sometimes, the DMV will use the documentation from a doctor that you are medically cleared to drive and state that you do not need a driving re-evaluation. If this happens, you should request documentation from the DMV stating that you had requested a driving re-evaluation and that the DMV stated you did not need it. In other cases, DMV may ask you to get a medical clearance form filled out by your doctor and/or the DMV will sign you up for a driving re-evaluation which includes the written test and behind the wheel driving exam.
Are Behind the Wheel Driving Assessments covered by medical insurance?
Private Insurance, Medicare and Medicaid do not reimburse for driving evaluations. Sometimes, Workers Compensation will cover a driving evaluation if it is authorized. In addition, if you are a veteran, a driving assessment may be covered and can be performed free of charge at the VA Hospital.
In general, you must self pay for these services. The cost ranges depending on the driving specialist and the location and type of services provided. It is very important for you to collaborate with your healthcare team in advance to seek out a driving assessment at an optimal and appropriate time in your recovery.
What is the difference between going to a Driver Education Teacher vs. an Occupational Therapist for a behind the wheel driving assessment?
A discussion with your healthcare team may be helpful in determining which professional is most appropriate for your specific situation.
In general, if a person has continued challenges with cognition (memory and attention), visual perception (visual field deficit), or physical weakness that may require adaptive equipment in the car or driving training sessions, your healthcare team may suggest working with an Occupational Therapist. Typically Occupational Therapists have more in depth training and education with cognition, vision, and physical disability.
If I get an evaluation by a certified driving specialist, will I still need to do a DMV behind the wheel driving assessment?
It is always recommended to self report. They will often use the Certified Driving Rehabilitation Specialist report rather than re-testing you.
What happens if I do not pass the behind the wheel driving test at the DMV? Is there a waiting period before I get re-tested?
Typically you have up to 3 attempts to pass. The DMV will decide on any waiting periods and how many attempts they may allow based upon their review of your specific situation.
What are the California laws for vision requirements for returning to driving?
The CA law states that a person must have 20/40 corrected visual acuity to be eligible to return to driving. If you have a visual field deficit, a CDRS can evaluate your visual scanning skills while driving to assess if you would be safe to return to driving. Often, people with visual field deficits may need to participate in visual scanning training with an Outpatient Occupational Therapist before the behind the wheel assessment.
Before returning to driving, how long do I have to be free of seizures?
At least 6 months or you need to be medically cleared by your doctor.