Operating Handicap Accessible Vehicles Requires a Driver Certification for Disabled: Part 2
Once you’ve completed your clinical evaluation, it’s time for an on-road assessment in a handicap accessible vehicle. This is where the driver rehabilitation specialist will evaluate your ability to drive a vehicle with adaptive equipment and determine what type of specific equipment you personally need.
Before you can go through the second part of your evaluation, it’s required you have a valid driver’s license or learner’s permit. As for getting a driver’s license or permit, you can’t be denied the opportunity to apply because you have a disability, but you may be given a restricted license based on the use of adaptive devices.
Generally, the driver rehabilitation specialist will perform the evaluation in a van or car that’s equipped with the same type of adaptive equipment you would require in your own vehicle. The evaluation begins in a parking lot or other open area to check basic control of acceleration, braking, and steering, turning and parking skills and overall ability to handle the vehicle. From there the evaluation process moves to the street to see how you perform in moving traffic. The final step includes an analysis of your ability to drive on the highway and at higher speeds. The process varies from person to person based on the specific needs of that individual and usually takes a couple of sessions to complete.
After the final appointment, the specialist will summarize the results and determine if you’ll require any additional training. They’ll also suggest what type of vehicle would be the best fit for your needs and personal situation. In addition, the driver rehabilitation specialist will work with both you and the mobility equipment dealer to ensure that the equipment is positioned adequately for your needs and that you are able to safely and independently operate your adapted vehicle.
Please be aware that it may take awhile before your evaluation can get scheduled so it’s always a good idea to get the process started early.
For more information on the Association For Driver Rehabilitation Specialists you can visit their website at www.driver-ed.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=1
The National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) is an advocate for mobility and accessibility for drivers with disabilities. If you need help with converting or pricing handicap accessible vans, cars or trucks, please consider one of our mobility equipment dealers.