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What is a Driver Rehabilitation Specialist?

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If you’re in the market for a handicap-accessible vehicle, you’ll need to take into account your own personal needs or the needs of your loved one. Whether you plan to purchase an adapted vehicle or adapt a factory-spec vehicle yourself, the input of a driver rehabilitation specialist is essential for helping you make the right choice.


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What is a driver rehabilitation specialist?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a driver rehabilitation specialist provides an evaluation that helps determine which equipment and accessories are necessary now and in the future to help ensure safe driving.

The eval provided by a DRS includes not just the ability to drive with adaptive equipment, but essential physical skills and traits like reaction time, coordination, judgment and decision-making, and muscle aptitude. Upon completing, your DRS provides a full report with recommendations and a list of necessary vehicle equipment and requirements, as well as a recommendation for training with the use of the suggested adaptive equipment.

Where can you find one?

NHTSA recommends the Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists and American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc. as great resources for finding qualified driver rehabilitation specialists in North America. According to ADED, there are around 700 identified driver rehabilitation specialists in the United States and Canada — around half of whom are credentialed through ADED’s certification process. You can also check through your local rehabilitation center.


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Will insurance cover it?

According to NHTSA, health insurance may cover all or part of your evaluation from a qualified driver rehabilitation specialist. For best results, contact your insurance agency to see whether the service is covered and what paperwork would be needed to ensure coverage. Vocational rehabilitation agencies and workers’ compensation agencies may also help cover the cost of evaluation, and you may also qualify for an additional discount if you are a senior.

Sources: NHTSA, ADED, AOTA