Baylor Health Care SystemAbout B

Serving all people by providing personalized health and wellness through exemplary care, education and research.

Outpatient Programs

Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation

 
Need something? Call us: 1.800.4BAYLOR(1.800.422.9567)
Text Size
Share

Adaptive Driving FAQs 

What are your credentials?
The evaluator is an occupational therapist with a license from the Texas Education Agency as a certified driving instructor (required to perform any behind the wheel evaluation or training in the State of Texas).  Additionally, the therapist is or is working toward being a certified driver rehabilitation specialist through the Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists (ADED).
 
What is included in the driving evaluation?
The evaluation is approximately three hours long and consists of both a clinical and a behind-the-wheel portion in the hospital vehicle.  It is a performance based evaluation; in other words, it is not based on your previous driving record or years of driving experience, but rather on how you perform on the day of the evaluation.  

Is the driving evaluation a pass/fail test? 
It should be remembered that this is a therapeutic evaluation, not a test.  The therapist will make one of three recommendations at the conclusion of the evaluation:

1. If you complete the entire 20 mile route without the therapist needing to intervene by using the brake, taking control of the steering, or to tell an experienced driver something that they should be able to do, then the recommendation would be to resume driving.  Please see the section titled “Is it necessary to be re-tested at the Department of Public Safety?”  (if you do not plan to drive on the highway in the future, that section can be omitted, however, if you are not observed driving in that setting, then the therapist will recommend a restriction from highway driving)

2. If you are not able to complete the full route, or if it is necessary for the therapist to intervene for a safety reason, or if you are demonstrating a skill level that is not safe, the therapist may recommend follow-up training.  As an occupational therapist, this should be considered a therapeutic intervention. Specific goals would be established that would need to be achieved. Follow-up training will only be recommended if there is a reasonable potential for you to make corrections and be safe.  Even so, success cannot be guaranteed. 

3. If you are unable to demonstrate the ability to drive safely, and follow-up training is not expected to have a reasonable potential to correct the deficits, then the recommendation to discontinue/retire from driving would be made.

If I have never driven, can you teach me?
The therapist is experienced in training individuals with a variety of diagnoses; however, due to the fact that driving is considered one of the most complex individual tasks that is performed on a daily basis and due to the very nature and extent of some disabilities, driving is not appropriate for every individual. 

No guarantee can be made that every patient will be successful in learning to drive. The possibility of a trial period of driving may be considered in order to demonstrate the ability to learn basic skills. The full training for an individual who has never driven is a very lengthy process. Decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.

Will I get the results of the evaluation while I am there?
Yes. The therapist provides immediate feedback throughout the evaluation process.  A verbal review with recommendations and a plan of care is given at the conclusion of the evaluation to you and a family member or friend (with your approval). A written report is sent to the physician, you, and if appropriate, the referral source. You will receive the identical information as the physician.

Does commercial insurance or Medicare pay the cost of the evaluation?
The ability to drive is not considered a medical necessity; therefore, Medicare and most commercial insurances do not cover the cost. The options are Worker’s Compensation, Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) if a person qualifies for the services, and/or private pay.

Is it necessary to be re-tested at the Department of Public Safety? 
Yes.  Although Texas does not have mandatory physician reporting, the DPS and the Texas Department of State Health Services (Medical Review Board) have guidelines regarding returning to driving with a medical condition. The DPS is the only legal authority over a person’s driver’s license. They issued the original license based on a person’s ability to pass the written examination and a basic driving skills road test. 

The DPS guideline is that after a change in a person’s mental or physical condition that could affect a person’s ability to drive safely, they are required to report to the DPS for possible testing. The individual should not drive on public streets until they have proven themselves to the DPS. ** The only way to be put on record as being a safe driver is to pass the road test at the Department of Public Safety.** The results of the driving test will become part of your permanent driving record in Austin. 

What should I do to prepare for the evaluation and/or follow-up training? 
Since you should not drive on public streets until you have proven yourself to the DPS, we must advise you not to practice before you come for the evaluation. The evaluation route is designed to progress you from simple to complex driving scenarios gradually and systematically. If your brain is functioning adequately, the progression allows time for you make the necessary adjustments.

Since with most medical conditions you will need to prove yourself to the DPS, it is expected that as a licensed driver, you have a working knowledge of the “rules of the road” as found in the Texas Driver Handbook.  If you need to review the handbook, it can be obtained free of charge at any local DPS office, or found online at www.txdps.state.tx.us.

While your safety in returning to driving is the primary focus of the evaluation, your habits could affect the outcome. They will affect the outcome on the DPS test.

Is it legally required to go through the driving evaluation at Baylor Rehab?
No. It is, however, legally required that you prove your ability at the Department of Public Safety. Many physicians require the Baylor Rehab driving evaluation before they will release you to drive. Additionally, some funding agencies require it as a part of the return to work process, and before they will modify a vehicle with adaptive equipment.

If I don’t do well on the driving evaluation, do you take my driver’s license away?
No.  Only the DPS or a judge has that authority.

If I pass the driving evaluation, does that clear me to drive?
No. The therapist can only make recommendations about your safety in driving. The DPS is the only legal authority over a driver’s license.

Do you use a simulator for the evaluation and/or follow-up training?
No. All evaluations and training are “live drive” experiences in the hospital vehicle.

Does Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation offer classroom driver education? 
No. The Baylor Rehab Adaptive Driving Program specializes in behind the wheel driving. The Texas Education Agency regulates classroom driver education programs.  For information, go to: www.5.esc13.net – follow the link to Driver Education and Training.

  • If you are between 15 and 18, you must complete the 32-hour classroom education course either through a commercial driving school, or through an approved parent-taught course.
  • If you are between the ages of 18 and 25, you must complete a six hour driver education course. Information is available at the Texas Education Agency website.
  • If you are over age 25, you may simply study the Texas Department of Public Safety Driver Handbook to prepare for the written examination.  It is available at any local DPS office, or online at the Texas DPS website.

Will participation in the Driver Rehabilitation Program result in reduced insurance rates?
No. Only classroom driver education or defensive driving courses can lower your rates.

How do I obtain an instruction permit?
You will need to take any required driver education course and/or study independently for the DPS written examination.  For information, go to: www.5.esc13.net – follow the link to Driver Education and Training.

  • If you are between 15 and 18, you must complete the 32 hour classroom education course either through a commercial driving school or through an approved parent-taught course.
  • If you are between the ages of 18 and 25, you must complete a six-hour driver education course. 
  • If you are over age 25, you may simply study the Texas Department of Public Safety Driver Handbook to prepare for the written examination.  It is available at any local DPS office or online at the Texas DPS website.

What kind of adaptive equipment do the Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation vehicles have in them? 
We currently have sedans with quick release, interchangeable hand controls, a left foot accelerator, and various steering wheel attachments. The therapist determines which equipment will be most appropriate for you.  If equipment is not needed, it is completely removed from the vehicle during the evaluation and training.

Can I use my personal car for the evaluation? 
No, by law a certified driving instructor is required to have an instructor brake in the vehicle in order to take control if necessary. Occasionally follow-up training is done from the patient’s personal vehicle if the hospital vehicle does not have the necessary equipment. This is only the case when the patient’s medical condition requires moderate to high tech vehicle modifications.  In that situation, an instructor brake must be installed for use during training, and then removed after training is completed.

I have some outstanding tickets, and I have a warrant out for my arrest. Can I still do the evaluation?   
No. You will need to take responsibility for clearing any legal issues. You will not be taken out on public streets if you have a warrant out for your arrest.

I have had a seizure. Can I still drive?
The current Medical Advisory Board guidelines (revised 11/2013) state that a person holding a Class C license must be seizure free for a period of three months. However, there are exceptions to the three month rule that may be considered by DPS, which you should speak to your instructor about.

For individuals with a Class C license who drive taxies, busses or emergency vehicles; or those holding a Class A or Class B license, additional guidelines are in place.

I have never driven before, and I am not sure that I can.  Do I have to have a driver’s license to have the evaluation?
When a person has never driven, the evaluation will be geared more heavily towards the clinical assessment with a brief parking lot assessment for the behind-the-wheel portion. A new driver will require extensive training, and therefore will not be asked to drive on public streets on the first day. If the recommendation is made for continued follow-up training, however, you will be required to obtain an instruction permit prior to returning in order to prove the ability to pass the basic knowledge test.

What if my license has expired?             
If it has been expired less than two years, a simple renewal is all that is necessary.  If more than two years, you must make a new application and take the written examination again.  You will probably be issued a new license with a different number.  In either case, a restriction of having a licensed driver 21 or over in the front seat may need to be added in order to perform the behind the wheel evaluation and training.  The restriction can be removed when you take the driving test at the DPS.

I lost my driver’s license, but I know my number or have a photocopy of it.  Can I still do the evaluation or training?
No. It is illegal to drive on public streets without a current, valid driver’s license in your possession. A parking lot only evaluation can be done, however it would only be useful in the case of a new driver, or when the evaluation is to determine what type of adaptive equipment you will be using.  In order to determine your safety on public streets, you must be evaluated on public streets.

If my license has been suspended or revoked, can you help me get it back?
No.  At this point, only the DPS or a judge can reverse a suspension or revocation.  It has become a legal issue, and you must follow the process set forth.  If a temporary license can be obtained for use during the evaluation or training, then the therapist can perform the necessary training to see if you can become a safe driver.

Will my automobile insurance rates automatically go up because I have a disability?
Insurance rates are based on your previous driving history and the cost of your vehicle.  Since the Americans with Disabilities Act went into effect, it is illegal to discriminate against a person based solely on the fact that they have a disability.  If you drive a high-tech van you should expect your rates to be higher.

How do I schedule an appointment?  

  1. Obtain a prescription from your physician with the following information: Your name, date of birth, diagnosis, date the prescription was written and the physician’s signature.
  2. Call 214.820.9225 to schedule the appointment.
  3. If you have a funding source such as Worker’s Comp or the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS), the referral must be initiated by your counselor or case manager.

Where are you located?
411 N. Washington Ave., Suite 5000    
Dallas, TX 75246   
We are between Gaston Avenue and Elm Street in the Tom Landry Health and Wellness Center.