440.00 Driver Evaluation and Training Policy

(Revised November 2019)

Table of Contents

Purpose

ACCES-VR provides Driver Evaluation and Training to address a participant’s transportation barrier (e.g. as a driver or passenger) so that his/her employment outcome can be achieved.

Definitions

Adaptive Equipment: These are devices that help individuals with a disability accomplish specific tasks, such as driving.

Driver Rehabilitation Specialist (DRS): The DRS is a professional who evaluates, develops a plan, coordinates, and implements adaptive driver training services for individuals with disabilities.

Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE): The IPE is ACCES-VR’s written plan, agreed upon by the individual and ACCES-VR counselor, that identifies an employment outcome, the services that will be provided to achieve the employment outcome, the timeframes for the services, and the steps that will measure progress toward the employment outcome. The IPE must be written within 90 days from the date of eligibility determination.

Participant: An individual with a disability who has been determined eligible for ACCES-VR services, has an approved and signed Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE), and received a service from ACCES-VR on or after the date that the IPE is signed.

Vehicle Modification: Any structural or non-structural alteration to a motor vehicle to increase, maintain or improve a participant’s functional capacity to safely drive or ride as a passenger to achieve his/her employment outcome. Examples of structural modifications may include, but are not limited to, a raised roof, lowered floor or widening the doors of a vehicle.  Examples of non-structural modifications may include, but are not limited to, pedal blocks, left foot break and accelerator, and wide-angle mirrors. 

Services

ACCES-VR provides several services for participants to reduce their transportation barriers so that they can achieve their employment outcomes. Participants must have either a valid learner’s permit or driver’s license for ACCES-VR to consider providing Driver Evaluation and Training services, including Adaptive Driver Evaluation and Training.  Driver Training must be provided with other ACCES-VR service(s) on a participant’s Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) except when the participant is already employed or when driving is a hiring requirement for a job.  ACCES-VR may only fund Driver Evaluation and Training during the last year of secondary school, except for participants who require an Adaptive Driver Evaluation and Adaptive Driver Training.

Note: ACCES-VR services for assessment or evaluation, counseling and guidance, pre-employment transition services (Pre-ETS) provided by the ACCES-VR counselor, benefit counseling, or other services to support the development of the IPE do not count as another service on the IPE for the purposes of providing Driver Training.

ACCES-VR funding for Driver Training, except Adaptive Driver Training, is based upon a participant’s financial need.  Prior to receiving driver training, all participants must provide financial documentation necessary for the ACCES-VR counselor to complete the Financial Need Review-Calculation of Participant Contribution in the Cost of Services (see 1125.00 Financial Need Review Policy). The ACCES-VR counselor must review and first utilize any comparable benefits (see 208.00 Comparable Benefits and Services Policy) prior to ACCES-VR funds being approved for Driver Training. 

Note: ACCES-VR funding for Driver Evaluation, Adaptive Driver Evaluation and Adaptive Driver Training are not based on the participant’s financial need (see 1125.00 Financial Need Review Policy) and, when appropriate, may be funded by ACCES-VR.

Evaluations

Driver Evaluation

The Driver Evaluation is an assessment of a participant's driving abilities and/or potential to be a safe, independent driver.  

Note: Participants with significant physical or cognitive limitations must obtain the driver evaluation from an ACCES-VR approved Driver Rehabilitation Specialist. For other participants, an approved Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) driving school approved by ACCES-VR may be identified on the IPE for the driver evaluation.

Adaptive Driver Evaluation

An Adaptive Driver Evaluation is a separate and specific type of driving evaluation that identifies the need for adaptive equipment or vehicle modifications that may be necessary. The Adaptive Driver Evaluation also identifies the type of vehicle that can be safely modified and factory equipment that is safe for use (see 441.00 Vehicle Modification, Adaptive and Automotive Equipment Policy).

The Adaptive Driver Evaluation includes both a clinical and a driving evaluation (either on the road or in simulation).  ACCES-VR requires that the Adaptive Driver Evaluation be completed by the ACCES-VR approved Driver Rehabilitation Specialist.

Adaptive Driver Evaluation-Clinical Evaluation

The clinical evaluation provides an assessment of the participant’s potential to become a safe, independent driver. The following functional abilities are tested during the assessment:

  1. Physical Skills
  2. Visual Function
  3. Visual Perceptual Skills
  4. Cognitive Skills
  5. Reaction Time Testing
Adaptive Driver Evaluation-Driving Evaluation

The driving evaluation (i.e. behind the wheel) is a performance assessment, either on the road or in simulation, to evaluate the participant’s potential to safely drive a vehicle, to identify any training needs, to identify if there is a need for vehicle modifications, and/or if there is a need for adaptive equipment. This evaluation may be done in the participant’s vehicle, the Driver Rehabilitation Specialist’s vehicle, or in a vehicle with adaptive equipment that is consistent with the participant’s needs.

Driver and Adaptive Driver Training

ACCES-VR may provide one of two types of training services, Driver Training or Adaptive Driver Training.

Driver Training

Driver Training may be provided to teach the participant how to safely drive a vehicle or to teach him/her how to improve driving skills.

Adaptive Driver Training

Adaptive Driver Training may be provided to participants requiring adaptive equipment and/or vehicle modifications to learn how to use recommended adaptive equipment safely and/or to provide specialized training for new adaptive equipment.

Note:  This training should be based upon the recommendations from the Adaptive Driver Evaluation that was completed by the Driver Rehabilitation Specialist. 

The Role of the Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor

The role of the ACCES-VR counselor is to assist participants in achieving their employment outcomes. The ACCES-VR counselor:

  1. Must determine, with the participant, the ACCES-VR services needed for inclusion on the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE).
  2. Must determine that Driver Evaluation and Training are necessary services to overcome transportation barrier(s) to achieve a participant’s employment outcome.  Note: Driver Training cannot be the only service provided on the IPE except when the Driver Training is provided as a service to assist the participant to maintain currently held employment or driving is a hiring requirement for a job.  ACCES-VR services for assessment or evaluation, counseling and guidance, pre-employment transition services (Pre-ETS) provided by the ACCES-VR counselor, benefits counseling or other services to support the development of the IPE do not count as another service on the IPE for the purposes of providing Driver Training.
  3. Must identify and determine that a participant is not eligible for any comparable benefits that can be used to provide the driver evaluation and/or training. 
    1. Will discuss with participants who are students in secondary school that no-cost driver evaluation and/or training services provided by the school district are comparable services that must be utilized unless the participant is not eligible.  Note:  ACCES-VR may only fund Driver Evaluation and Training during the last year of secondary school, except for participants who require an Adaptive Driver Evaluation and Adaptive Driver Training.
  4. Must notify the participant that Driver Training, except Adaptive Driver Training, is based on financial need.  The ACCES-VR counselor must complete the Financial Need Review-Calculation of Participation in the Cost of Services with all participants determined in need of driver training.
  5. Must verify that an appropriate vehicle will be available to the participant at the conclusion of services. The ACCES-VR counselor must review and provide the Vehicle Availability Form to the participant for signature, and legal guardian signature when applicable, and maintain an original copy in the record of service.
  6. Will complete a referral to the Driver Rehabilitation Specialist for Adaptive Driver Training Evaluation, when appropriate, to determine a participant’s unique need(s).
  7. Must review the 441.00 Vehicle Modification, Adaptive and Automotive Equipment Policy with the participant, and legal guardian when applicable, if a vehicle modification will be included on the IPE.
    1. Must review and provide the Vehicle Modification Fact Sheet, when applicable, to the participant for signature, and legal guardian signature if applicable, and maintain the original copy in the record of service.  Note:  ACCES-VR does not purchase, rent or lease vehicles.  

The Role of ACCES-VR Participant

A participant may require Driver Evaluation and Training in order to achieve his/her employment outcome.  Prior to those services being included on the IPE, a participant, and legal guardian when applicable, must:

  1. Determine, with the ACCES-VR counselor, the ACCES-VR services needed for inclusion on the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE).
  2. Provide to the ACCES-VR counselor, when requested, a medical report documenting that driving is not medically contraindicated.
  3. Have a valid learner's permit or driver's license.
  4. Explore all comparable benefits with the ACCES-VR counselor and identify the reason that he/she is not eligible for these services (e.g., Veterans Administration or no-cost high school driver training program).
  5. Submit financial documents to the ACCES-VR counselor for completion of the Financial Need Review - Calculation of Participation in the Cost of Services. Driver Training, except Adaptive Driver Training, is based upon financial  need and may require participant contribution (see 1125.00 Financial Need Review Policy). 
  6. Complete a Vehicle Availability Form stating that he/she has access to an appropriate vehicle for the Driver Training and employment.
  7. Review the 441.00 Vehicle Modifications, Adaptive and Automotive Equipment Policy with the ACCES-VR counselor, if a vehicle modification will be funded.
    1. Review and sign the Vehicle Modification Fact Sheet, if a vehicle modification will be funded. Note: For vehicle modification services, the participant must participate in an Adaptive Driver Evaluation and consultation with the Driver Rehabilitation Specialist (DRS).  ACCES-VR does not purchase, rent or lease vehicles.
    2. The ACCES-VR counselor will provide a copy of the signed fact sheet for the participant’s records.

 Financial Commitments

Individuals should not take on any financial commitments with the anticipation of ACCES-VR funding for services.  Individuals are required to wait until the ACCES-VR counselor provides an ACCES-VR finalized IPE for services and ACCES-VR’s financial contribution towards services before they incur any expenses or costs.    The individual will be responsible for all expenses or costs incurred before receipt of ACCES-VR’s finalized IPE and approval for financial contribution towards ACCES-VR services. 

Related Policies

  • 100.00 Participant Involvement Policy
  • 208.00 Comparable Benefits and Services Policy
  • 441.00 Vehicle Modifications, Adaptive and Automotive Equipment Policy
  • 1125.00 Financial Need Review Policy
  • 1355.00 Transportation Services Policy