440.00P Driver Evaluation and Training Procedure

(Revised March 2018)

See corresponding policy: 440.00 Driver Evaluation and Training Policy 

Note: Vocational Rehabilitation procedures provide internal guidance for ACCES-VR staff only and create no procedural or substantive rights for any individual or group.

Table of Contents

Description

Driver Evaluation assesses whether an individual with a disability has the potential to drive safely and whether adaptive equipment or vehicle modifications are necessary. If vehicle modifications are required, a part of the driver evaluation will be a vehicle consultation to advise individuals as to which vehicles can accommodate their specific needs. Therefore, individuals should be strongly advised not to purchase a new or replacement vehicle until they have completed driver evaluation.

Driver Training instructs an individual on how to safely operate a vehicle. This service may be provided to new drivers or to experienced drivers who have had a change of functioning due to onset or progression of a disability. When training involves adaptive driving equipment or vehicle modifications the equipment used must be comparable to that which is recommended for the individual. A successful outcome of driver training occurs when the individual obtains or retains a state driver's license with any appropriate restrictions, so that he or she can achieve the employment goal.

Implications and Considerations Prior to Services

Counselors need to determine whether the individual requires these services to overcome a transportation barrier to achieve his or her employment goal. The availability and suitability of public transportation or other means of transportation should be considered.

The counselor should consider whether driving is medically contra-indicated. Conditions related to loss of consciousness, medications, impaired cognitive functioning, deficits in visual processing, etc., could all be factors in the appropriateness of a referral.

ACCES-VR must verify that an appropriate vehicle will be available to the individual at the conclusion of services. All individuals need to sign a Vehicle Availability Agreement for Vehicle Modification (VR 730) for the record of services.

Discussion with the individual should cover the options for obtaining and maintaining a vehicle, including the possible use of a Plan to Achieve Self-Support (PASS) or by setting aside earnings.

If the individual is eligible for driver evaluation and training services through other sources such as a school district, Worker's Compensation, the Veteran's Administration, or no-fault insurance, such benefits must be explored first. Services should not, however, be unnecessarily delayed while trying to obtain support from such other sources.

Driver training is subject to financial need considerations except when being provided at a regionally accredited adaptive driver training center. ACCES-VR does not consider available resources at other driver training providers if the cost to ACCES-VR does not exceed the cost at the regionally accredited adaptive driver training center closest to the individual and provides the training appropriate to the individual's needs as identified in the IPE.

Services

Referral

The referral package for driver evaluation and training services needs to include medical, and when necessary, psychological information that accurately describes the individual's current functional limitations. If an individual has a progressive disability and/or there has been a change in functional limitations, medical reports should reflect the individual’s current functional level.

Assessment/Evaluation

Adaptive Driver Evaluations are used to determine whether an individual with a disability has the potential to drive safely, including the necessary cognitive and perceptual skills required for driving, whether adaptive equipment or vehicle modifications are necessary, and what appropriate vehicle and factory equipment the individual needs to look for when shopping for a vehicle. 

Driver evaluations, for individuals with significant physical or cognitive limitations, are to be completed by an approved Driver Rehabilitation Specialist. When appropriate the Driver Rehabilitation Specialist will work with the individual, individual's physician, and if needed, the Medical Review Unit of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), to obtain any required DMV medical clearance for driving.

A driver evaluation includes both clinical and behind the wheel assessments.

Counselors need to make every effort to find and refer to programs that have the equipment that is believed to be appropriate for the individual's unique needs.

Generally, a vehicle consultation is completed as part of the driver evaluation to either determine whether the vehicle the individual owns will meet his or her needs, or to identify the type of new vehicle which will meet his or her needs. If the individual has not purchased a vehicle this step should be done to assure the purchase of an appropriate vehicle.

It may be appropriate to offer driver evaluation services to a driver already licensed and experienced with adaptive driving equipment if a person experiences difficulty driving due to changes in functional capacity.

Driver Training

An individual may need driver training whether he or she is a new driver or an experienced driver with new limitations. Driver training, which requires adaptive driving equipment, may be authorized to a driving school approved by the DMV. Individuals with significant physical or cognitive limitations must obtain the driver training from a ACCES-VR approved Driver Rehabilitation Specialist.

While adaptive driver training is generally provided in conjunction with the individual's first experience with adaptive driving equipment and vehicle modifications, there may be other occasions for this service. Referrals may be appropriate if there has been a change in an individual's limitations due to progression of disability or following an assessment that reveals the need for different driving equipment than the person has been using.

Some programs have an agreement with ACCES-VR for Out of Town Driver Training and ACCES-VR is to follow the case service code and fee per that agreement.

New drivers also need to complete a one time, five-hour pre-licensing course which may be paid for by ACCES-VR. DMV approves specific driving instructors to offer this program.

A prerequisite that must be met before a driver training can be authorized is that adaptive driver training may be provided only if a driver evaluation report recommends training.

Driver Evaluation and Training for High School Students

School districts that offer driver evaluation and training services to their students are responsible for providing those services under equal access provisions of ADA and 504 to students with disabilities. Schools may not deny an otherwise qualified student with a disability access to driver education solely because reasonable accommodations to the vehicle are necessary. However, students with disabilities are subject to the same waiting lists and other possible restrictions as are other students. If a school district refuses to provide access to these services, ACCES-VR may assist with the initial cost so that services are not delayed, and then ask the student and the family to work with the school district to alter the decision.

ACCES-VR may offer driver evaluation and training services to students requiring this service if their school district does not have a driver training program.

Service Limits/Case Service Codes

Adaptive driving instruction and retraining services are intended to ensure that individuals are able to operate motor vehicles safely and meet the licensure requirements of the DMV. It is not intended to provide driving experience beyond this skill level. In addition, individuals who do not show appropriate progress within a reasonable length of time must be reevaluated to determine if driving is an appropriate goal.

Code Description
133X

Adaptive Driver Evaluation- Low Tech- Car or Van – this evaluation will be considered low tech when the participant requires the following adaptive equipment to safely operate a motor vehicle.  Other, similar items may include:  

  • raised tops and/or doors;
  • mechanical hand controls and steering devices;
  • six-way power transfer seats;
  • car top carriers; and,
  • wheelchair lifters/loader.

Maximum of 10 hours

134X

Adaptive Driver Evaluation-High Tech- Car of Van - this evaluation will be considered high tech when the participant requires the following (but not limited to) high level driving systems to safely operate a motor vehicle:

  • remote steering packages;
  • lowered floor conversions;
  • foot steering;
  • low-effort conversions;
  • horizontal steering; and,
  • braking and throttle servo controls.

 Maximum of 10 hours.

142X Vendor Travel for Drive/Vehicle Evaluation or Training Implementation -  this is a service authorized only when it is necessary for a vendor to travel over 20 miles each way to accomplish the authorized driver evaluation or training services to a specific participant.
872X Travel for Driver Training - paid to prior approved vendors for travel over 20 miles. 
875X Pre-licensing Class - a mandatory, by DMV, five-hour classroom course for new drivers. There is a pre-approved flat fee set by DMV.
880X Adaptive Driver Training – Low Tech – Car or Van - initial authorization is for up to 20 hours with an additional 20 hours that can be authorized in 10-hour increments with justification and VRC approval.
881X Adaptive Driver Training – High Tech – Car or Van - initial authorization is for up to 20 hours with an additional 20 hours that can be authorized in 10-hour increments with justification and VRC approval.