Services

Driver Rehabilitation

Ready to hit the road? 

If a medical condition affects your ability to drive, our Driver Rehabilitation Program can help get you back behind the wheel. 

Services are selected based on your doctor’s recommendation. 

We provide evaluations and training for adults who want to drive after an illness or injury. For example:  

  • Drivers with an injury or illness, including stroke, traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury.  
  • Older adults affected by medical changes.  
  • People who need a modified vehicle. 

We’ll evaluate your driving skills and rebuild them safely and with confidence. If adaptive tools or vehicle modifications would make driving safer and easier, we can help you get them. 

Driver Rehabilitation

Contact Us

Eager to get back into the driver’s seat? Start by talking to your doctor about whether you’re ready to begin driver rehabilitation. If you get the go-ahead, request a prescription for an evaluation. Next, call us! 

 

Mary Free Bed Driver Rehabilitation
Mary Ives Hunting Center
360 Lafayette Ave. SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Phone: 616.840.8161
Fax: 616.840.9952

Mary Free Bed Driver Rehabilitation 
Mary Free Bed at Munson Healthcare 
3988 W. Royal Drive 
Traverse City, MI 49684 
Phone: 231.421.1599 
Fax: 231.421.1606 

Services

Your rehabilitation specialists will coordinate the best Driver Rehabilitation Program services for your needs.

Comprehensive Driving Evaluation

 A comprehensive driving evaluation is an assessment of your ability to drive or return to driving. If you need special equipment or vehicle modification, we’ll provide information about what’s available and possible costs. 

The evaluation could include:  

  • A clinical evaluation performed by a Mary Free Bed occupational therapist. This person will assess things such as your vision and motor function. He or she will identify your strengths and highlight problems that could keep you from driving safely. 
  • A functional driving evaluation to assess your driving skills.  
  • A review of your medical history, driver’s license status and driving history. This will help us understand what could affect your ability to return to driving.  
  • A wheelchair-access compatibility assessment.  
  • Education about adaptive equipment. 
  • Documentation, including your prognosis for success, an estimate of the time needed to train and license you, and a summary of your needs for a vehicle or adaptive equipment. 

Driver Education and Rehabilitation

This training is based on your individual needs. We’ll also guide you through the licensing process. If you need vehicle modifications, we’ll help you make a buying decision. 

Driver education/rehabilitation includes:  

  • Behind-the-wheel experience with a driver rehabilitation specialist.  
  • Road test with the licensing authority.  
  • Vehicle modification consultation (if applicable). 

Driver Rehabilitation for Experienced Drivers Needing an Assessment

This evaluation may be the right choice if you’ve experienced a head injury or stroke. These injuries can cause changes in your visual, perceptual and cognitive skills. A professional assessment of your driving skills may be necessary before you return to driving. In some cases, you might need training to help you or a family member compensate for any changes in skill.

Driver Rehabilitation for Older Drivers

Our driver rehabilitation program may be appropriate if you have:  

  • Slowed reaction time  
  • Vision problems  
  • A degenerative disease that affects your ability to drive 

We’ll check your current driving skills and create an assessment of what’s needed to continue driving safely. We can provide training, tips, or vehicle modifications as necessary. If appropriate, we’ll talk to you about no longer driving and setting up other ways of getting around. 

Driver Rehabilitation for Drivers Needing Vehicle Modifications 

Driver re-training helps if you need a modified vehicle because of an amputation, stroke, spinal cord injury or other condition. We’ll teach you how to drive a modified vehicle and help you get one. We have various driving systems available for you to train on, and can even modify a vehicle for your training. We also can provide detailed information about adaptive equipment, costs and maintenance. 

Vehicle Modification Assistance 

A driver rehabilitation specialist can help and train you, as needed, if you’re buying a vehicle with adaptive equipment. 

Vehicle modification assistance includes:  

  • Help with the modification process  
  • Test drive and conformance inspection  
  • Vehicle familiarization 

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the questions we most frequently hear from patients interested in driver rehabilitation: 

How do I get a driver’s rehabilitation evaluation started?

Start by talking to your doctor about whether you’re ready to begin driver rehabilitation. If he or she believes you are, request a prescription for a driving evaluation. Next, contact our Driver Rehabilitation Program by calling 616.840.8161 for our Grand Rapids office or 231.421.1599 for our Traverse City location. 

Note: Mary Free Bed cannot grant or remove an individual’s license. 

What’s the cost for a driving evaluation, and is it covered by insurance?

Please contact the Mary Free Bed Driver Rehabilitation Program directly to learn more about fees and associated costs. We’ll work with you to identify sources of financial assistance if you need it. 

A pre-driving evaluation frequently is covered by insurance and completed by a Mary Free Bed occupational therapist with specialized training and equipment. 

On-road driving evaluations typically must be done at private businesses that are primarily private-pay services. Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialists use vehicles licensed by the state to be used for on-road assessment and training. 

Do I need a driving evaluation if I’ve had a stroke, spinal cord injury or traumatic brain injury?

Certain medical conditions or injuries can your ability to drive safely. A driving evaluation will ensure you can safely return to the road. 

A comprehensive driving evaluation is completed in a safe environment and usually requires two parts: 

  • A clinical evaluation completed by an occupational therapist in a hospital outpatient facility. 
  • An on-road driving evaluation implemented by a private business certified by the state. 

The driving evaluation includes clinical testing and actual on-road driving. When the evaluation is complete, your tester will recommend to you and your physician on whether you can safely return to driving. 

Is my license valid after a traumatic brain injury, stroke or disability caused by injury?

If you haven’t received notification from the State of Michigan and your license hasn’t expired, your license likely is still valid. If something would affect your license, you’ll be notified in writing. 

However, even if your license is still valid, you may consider driver rehabilitation especially if you don’t have medical clearance to drive. If you complete a driving evaluation, a report will be written to say you’ve been medically cleared for driving; this report will become a part of your medical record. 

Will my doctor notify the state if I’ve had a traumatic brain injury or disability caused by an injury or disease?

Usually, a physician doesn’t inform the State of Michigan of your medical condition because of federal protections for the release of health information. However, after a traumatic brain injury, your physician may choose to notify the state about concerns with your driving. This may happen if you’re at elevated risk for collisions because of how the traumatic brain injury affects your processing of information and judgment. Or it might happen if you ignore a recommendation from the medical team. 

How does the state find out about my traumatic brain injury or disability caused by an injury or disease?

The Secretary of State office for the State of Michigan depends on you, your family or your physician to report to the state any medical conditions that may affect your ability to drive. At Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital, this can be accomplished (via email or in person) by your physician, the occupational therapist who assesses your driving abilities, a family member or by you. The private business that performs your on-road evaluation and training also can report your inability to pass the on-road test to the state. 

How will my medical team address the issue of driving?

Your physician may discuss driving with you and even recommend that you stop driving. This conversation is kept confidential, but sometimes the conversation will be added to your chart as proof that you were told not to drive.  

You’ll be responsible for resolving any medical recommendation not to drive, which you can do by receiving medical clearance from your physician before returning to driving. 

What if I can’t use my right leg or arm? Or I can’t use my left arm?

Special adaptations are available to make it possible to operate a motor vehicle if you have special needs for driving. A driving evaluation in an adapted vehicle is the best means to identify your specific needs. 

Whenever an adaptive device is required to continue driving, we recommend the following procedure to ensure safety: 

  • Behind-the-wheel training using the adaptive device(s). 
  • Road test completion with the Secretary of State to obtain approval to drive with an adaptive device on the vehicle. 
  • Device installation by a trained installer. 
Need Rehabilitation? Ask for Mary.