Comprehensive Driving Evaluations in North Carolina

A comprehensive driving evaluation is a service completed by a skilled professional who will do a clinical evaluation of the cognitive, visual, and motor skills of the patient as well as performance evaluation on the road in a specially equipped motor vehicle.  The driving evaluator is usually an occupational therapist with advanced or specialized training.  Occupational therapists who are trained in driving rehabilitation understand the critical demands of driving, have the science-based knowledge to understand progressive conditions and life changes that affect driving, and understand how community mobility that affects quality of life. 

 If a physician is referring to a driving specialist, it is important to make sure that driving specialist also has a degree or background in an allied health or medical profession.

Driving Rehabilitation Specialists

OTR or OTR/L:  Occupational therapists are skilled in the evaluation and providing intervention of activities of daily living (ADL) and instrumental tasks of daily living (IADL).  Since driving is an IADL, occupational therapists have the skills and knowledge to assess and provide interventions for the motor, cognitive, and visual-perception issues underlying the activity of driving. However, driving is an activity that occurs within a dynamic and complex environment.  Therefore, there is special skill training that is needed to be competent in the specialized driving evaluation, particularly the behind-the-wheel component.

DRS:  A driving rehabilitation specialist is any professional that does any component of the driving assessment.  There is no specific license or guidelines for someone to describe themselves as a DRS.

CDRS:  A certified driving rehabilitation specialist is a individual who has passed a certified examination, administered by the Association of Driving Rehabilitations Specialists (ADED).  The individual also has to have a year’s experience in transportation and mobility of individuals.  A CDRS does not always have a professional degree, such as an occupational therapy or physical therapy degree.

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