Operating a motor vehicle is a luxury that a lot of us often take for granted. Some people are severely handicapped to the point that they can’t operate a vehicle; however, more minor injuries and handicaps can be handled using a modified vehicle. It can be tough to deal with the thought of not being able to use a car, as it will probably affect your employment. If you are someone suffering from some type of handicap or looking for information to help someone you know, be sure to read through this guide on taking a disability driving assessment.


What makes up a disability driving assessment?

road with cars

This type of test consists of two key components: an off-road evaluation and an on-road evaluation. A trained occupational therapist will meet at the person’s home. The entire test takes approximately two to three hours; however, this pertains to the severity of the client’s handicap.

The off-road part of the examination looks to highlight any medical conditions that could inhibit the individual’s ability to operate a motor vehicle in a safe manner. The on-road examination takes place in the individual’s local suburb and area. A qualified instructor and occupational therapist are both present as the person operates the vehicle.

Following this, the individual will be informed of their results and any recommendations regarding performance or modifications will be summarized in a report. This report is then sent to the client and the RMS.


Minor conditions

You will not be required to complete a disability driving assessment if you are afflicted with a minor condition that does not inhibit your ability to operate a vehicle. Such conditions could include: loss of up to three fingers on one hand, loss of toes or stiffness in joints.


Serious conditions

On the other hand, if you suffer from a more serious handicap, you will be required to complete a disability driving assessment. Serious handicaps include; loss or serious impairment of one or both legs/arms or a loss of more than three fingers on one hand. In this scenario, you will be required to use special aids or appliances that are modified to your vehicle. These special aids are installed to ascertain that you can operate your car in a safe manner. These special aids could include artificial limbs, a steering wheel support or any relevant hand controls.


What is examined?

The RMS applies several key principles in their disability driving assessment. Firstly, if an appliance is worn, it cannot interfere with your ability to operate a car. If it is too heavy or too bulky, it must be redesigned or refitted.

If you are unable to use either leg, hand controls will be fitted to your car. If you use an artificial leg, you must demonstrate use of the artificial leg in your disability driving assessment. On top of this, the brake and accelerator pedals can be repositioned to suit your abilities, particularly if you can only operate your car using your left leg.

You can operate an automatic vehicle with the use of only one arm. However, you have to be able to reach and use all the major controls without having to take your hand off the steering wheel. Because of this, your car may have to be fitted with extended indicator switches.

Furthermore, you may have a severe neck or head injury that prevents your ability to rotate or move your head. If you suffer from this restriction, you can have your car modified with wing mirrors or a fisheye mirror so as to improve your rear and side vision. In fact, if you have your car fitted with additional mirrors, you won’t actually have to complete a disability driving assessment. However, your license will note your condition.