Driving safely can be an important part of your return to independence following an injury, illness, or accident. Our occupational therapists will assess your physical well-being to determine your medical fitness to drive. A referral from your health care provider is required to receive a clinical evaluation from our occupational therapists. The cost is $200 and is not covered by insurance.
Who May Benefit from a Driving Evaluation
Our assessment is ideal for anyone whose driving ability may have been affected by an injury or illness. It’s particularly helpful if you:
- Are in rehabilitation because of a stroke, traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, or spinal cord injury
- Have vision changes, a chronic disease such as arthritis or diabetic neuropathy, a diagnosis of early-stage dementia, or age-related changes.
- Are a young adult or new driver with a learning disability, attention deficit disorder, or a physical disability such as cerebral palsy or spina bifida.
A referral is necessary for an evaluation. You can have your doctor fax your referral to 919-479-2668.
Duke Health offers evaluations at two clinics in Durham and one in Raleigh.
You won’t be driving a car during our evaluation. You’ll work one-on-one with an occupational therapist in an indoor setting at one of our clinics to identify problems that may affect your driving. Testing takes about two hours and includes tasks like writing and drawing to assess attention, memory, and processing speed, and using a computer program to practice aspects of driving. Our occupational therapists will assess your physical abilities and cognitive skills.
Our goal is to make sure you can remain mobile in your community by driving your vehicle in different situations. During your evaluation, our occupational therapist will test your skills for driving at different times of day and under different conditions, including:
- Sharpness of vision and depth perception
- Visual perception skills
- Night vision
- Memory and cognitive ability
- Judgment and ability to make safe decisions
- Comprehension of road rules and regulations
- Physical strength and coordination
- Eye-foot and hand-eye reaction time
Clearance to Drive
Medical fitness to drive is different for everyone. We may recommend additional testing or resources to ensure you can drive safely or suggest equipment that can be installed in your vehicle to help. Our occupational therapists do not have the authority to issue or revoke a driver’s license.
We’ll share test results with you and your health care provider to determine next steps. If you were referred to the Duke Driving Program by the state DMV Medical Review Program, they’ll also receive a copy of our report.
If it’s determined you also need a road test with a North Carolina-certified driving instructor, we’ll help you coordinate an evaluation with a separate company. The cost for this test varies based on where you live and how much time you’ll spend with the instructor.
Duke University Hospital is proud of our team and the exceptional care they provide. They are why we are once again recognized as the best hospital in North Carolina, and nationally ranked in 11 adult and 9 pediatric specialties by U.S. News & World Report for 2020–2021.