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Assessments/Older Drivers

Driving Assessments

Introduction

Driving represents independence, integrity and confidence. It also provides a means to access necessary services, social interaction with family, friends and community.

Maintaining mobility through driving, is important for quality of life. However, we all need to be proactive with regard to our driving and road safety. 

For anyone with a medical condition or experiencing age related changes that may affect ability to drive safely, they should follow the advice of their GP.
View/Download RSA ‘Sláinte agus Tiomáint’ >>(PDF format).  
Sláinte agus Tiomáint provides guidance on medical fitness for drivers and one of its objectives is to promote mobility in a way that is consistent with road safety.

Following a medical health professional’s evaluation, an on-road driving assessment may also be recommended. An on-road assessment can assist in determining a person’s fitness to begin, return or continue driving.

A driving assessment should not be perceived as a ‘pass or fail’ outcome. It is a supportive exercise to assess a person’s strengths and weaknesses in determining their fitness to drive. One of its objectives is to support and maintain a person’s mobility through driving, provided they are safe.

A driving assessment can be comprised of two sections, depending on a person’s diagnosis and its affects. They include an in-car physical mobility assessment or on-road driving ability assessment

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In-Car Physical Mobility Assessment

An in-car physical mobility assessment examines a person’s physical range of mobility and strengths.
This is to ascertain what adaptative equipment is necessary to enable a person drive in safety and comfort.  It may also include a recommendation for a particular type of vehicle.

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On-Road Driving Ability Assessment

The on-road driving assessment assesses one’s ability to drive a vehicle in safety and comfort in live traffic situations. It examines one’s physical, cognitive and perceptual ability while driving.

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Recommendations

Recommendations following an on-road Assessment may include:
  • suitable adaptations
  • suitable vehicle
  • driver training
  • driver rehabilitation
  • restrictive driving
  • return, continue or begin driving
  • re-evaluation for progressive medical conditions
  • discontinuation of driving (with a view to re-evaluation on improvement of  health)
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Referral and Follow-on Procedure

Written referrals for an assessment should provide as much information as possible pertaining to driving. The referral should include contact details, medical history and driving history.
Once a written referral is received from a health care professional, contact is made with the client.

A suitable appointment is then arranged.

The appointment  begins with a discussion about driving and medical history. As part of that discussion, an intake is completed before proceeding to the on-road drive.
The type of routes to be used will be discussed and decided prior to taking the on-road drive.
A family member or friend may accompany the driver on the day. 
Most people complete the assessment in their own vehicle, however, an automatic, manual or adapted vehicle can be provided. 

The drive usually takes one hour and on completion, the recommendations are discussed, followed by a written report.

During the on-road drive, any driving errors demonstrated are discussed. This allows an opportunity to correct the errors.

If a driver is nervous or anxious, every effort will be made to ease the situation to enable them to feel comfortable. A friendly relaxed atmosphere is intended.

An on-road driving assessment should not be compared to a statutory driving test. However, both have objectives for safe driving. A driving test has a pass or fail outcome, whereas an assessment has a wider range of options.
The fee is €150 and a receipt is issued on payment.

For anyone in the Cork area, the assessment can be conducted from their home, or from our office at Little Island. For anyone traveling from another county, the assessment can be conducted from our office in Little Island, Co. Cork, or at a decided convenient location.
For anyone who has to travel to Cork for an assessment, and is not familiar with the area, the routes selected will be matched and similar to the drivers regular routes at home.
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Follow-up Support Family Conference

Following a driver assessment, having considered all alternative options, the recommendations may sometimes be, to stop driving.

When a person has to stop driving, for whatever reason, it can be very challenging for the driver, their family, carer etc. Some people have great difficulty coming to terms with the loss, and everyone manages their stress differently. For a person with poor insight into their difficulties, it can be more challenging to accept cessation.

An additional service following a driver assessment can include a family/group conference. A group meeting is organised to have as many  people as is necessary to discuss and support the driver adjust to the change.

Exploring options for alternative transport, delegating certain responsibilities, availing of support services, encouraging the person to maintain social interaction, exploring hobbies, etc. all provide a person with support in acceptance to change.

This is a proactive positive supportive exercise that has helped many.

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Pre Driving Skills Assessment Services

Driving programmes are conducted in various hospitals throughout Ireland, usually through the occupational therapy service. This OT appointment involves a discussion of driving history, medical history, an assessment of a person’s physical mobility and strength, followed by cognitive and perceptual screenings. On completion of the occupational therapist’s evaluation, a referral for an on-road driving ability assessment and/or driver training is arranged. Check your local hospital for services available in your area.

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Legal Requirements

In February 2013, the Road Safety Authority, in conjunction with the National Programme Office for Traffic Medicine * launched ‘Sláinte agus Tiomáint’ The Irish Medical Fitness to Drive Guidelines. It provides guidance on medical fitness for drivers of motor cars for private use and motorcycles. Before a referral for driver assessment, it is imperative that a driver complies with medical standards.

* The National Programme Office for Traffic Medicine was established as a joint initiative between the Road Safety Authority and the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, in 2010.

In Ireland, a person diagnosed with a disability, illness or medical condition that may affect their ability to drive safely, require permission from a registered medical practitioner before beginning, returning or continuing to drive. Failure to do so may render their car insurance policy void.

Drivers are also required to report to the Driving Licensing Authority when they become aware of a health condition that may affect their ability to drive safely.
For further information, View/Download RSA ‘Sláinte agus Tiomáint’ >>(PDF format).

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. If I have a disability, do I need to inform my car insurance company ?
A. Yes. A driver is obliged to inform their car insurance company of any changes in their health that may affect their ability to drive safely.

Q. If I have a disability/illness, will I be charged extra for my car insurance?
A. No. A driver with a disability should not be charged extra, nor refused a quote solely based on their disability.

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Driver Assessment Services in Ireland

The following is a list of driver assessment and driver training service providers. The services offered may vary.

CORK
Southern Mobility Assessment & Tuition Specialists

Postal Address.
Glencarrig House, Ballincrokig, Whitescross, Co. Cork.
Phone 021 482 3258

Office Address.
Waterfront Business Park, Little Island, Co. Cork
Phone 021 4355 411.

Mobile 087 9304 335.
Website www.southernmobility.ie  Email:

DUBLIN

Mobility First
12 Glenomena Park, Booterstown, Co. Dublin.
Phone Michael Walsh 085 7182 555
Email:

KILDARE

Irish Wheelchair Association
Mobility Centre, Clane, Co. Kildare.
Phone 045 89 30 94
www.iwa.ie

LIMERICK GALWAY CLARE KERRY TIPPERARY

Results Driving Assessment Services
Tim O Donoghue
Phone: 069-61999
Mobile: 087-2633 599
Email:
Postal Address: Old Mill, Newcastlewest, Co. Limerick.
Website: www.resultsdrivingassessmentservices.ie

MAYO

Disabled Drivers Association of Ireland
Ballindine, Claremorris, Co. Mayo.
Phone 094 9364 054
www.ddai.ie

WATERFORD WEXFORD
Michelle’s Driving School
Phone Michelle on 087 9908 115 or 051 397 952
www.michellesdrivingschool.ie

WICKLOW

Transport & Mobility Consultants Ireland
Ardtullagh Lodge, 19 Glenmallure Golf Club, Greenane, Rathdrum, Co. Wicklow.
Phone Tony Regan 0404 43854  or 087 263 5025
www.transportandmobility.ie

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