Driver Readiness Screening

Navigate a Safe Return to Driving

Regaining the independence of driving is a common goal following an illness or injury. This crucial step towards safety is your first move toward secure driving.

We’re here to help you get back on the road with confidence. A Mary Free Bed driver pre-evaluation offers a comprehensive driving assessment for adults 18 and older.

Mary Free Bed occupational therapists are compassionate partners on the journey back to safe driving. In this 60-minute, comprehensive evaluation, we’ll assess driving essentials – including vision, cognitive, and physical skills –to ensure you’re road-ready.


What is a driver readiness screening?

This comprehensive 60-minute evaluation is performed by a Mary Free Bed occupational therapist. We’ll assess the physical, cognitive and visual skills needed to drive safely.


When should I consider requesting a driver readiness screening?

Driver readiness screenings are designed for individuals aged 18 and older who, along with their families or caregivers, have concerns about their ability to drive safely.

If you’ve experienced a significant change to your mental or physical status, you should consider an assessment. These changes could be a factor of:

  • Stroke
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Brain injury
  • Seizure
  • Dementia/Alzheimer’s
  • Any medical condition impacting your vision, cognition or physical ability to drive


What does a driver readiness screening look like?

When referred to Mary Free Bed, you’ll visit our Grand Rapids Outpatient Clinic. Your occupational therapist will evaluate the following factors:


Vision Skills

  • Night vision
  • Field of vision
  • Depth perception
  • Sign recognition
  • Visual spatial, perceptual, attention and memory skills


Cognitive Skills

  • Short- and long-term memory
  • Alternating attention
  • Orientation and navigation
  • Processing speed


Physical Skills

  • Right lower extremity strength, proprioception and reaction time
  • Arm movement and strength
  • Hand strength and finger mobility
  • Trunk mobility and rotation


Assessment & Recommendations

Your referring physician will receive your evaluation report. This report will provide a risk level (low, medium, or high risk) of a potential vehicle accident based on your scores and abilities.

Depending on your assessed level of risk, we may recommend a formal on-road driver evaluation. These types of on-road assessments are not provided by Mary Free Bed.


What is the cost?

Driver readiness screenings are covered by insurance as an occupational therapy evaluation. Any on-road evaluation and training that might be recommended following this evaluation would be an out-of-pocket expense. If needed, your Mary Free Bed therapist can help provide recommendations on organizations who provide the on-road evaluation.

How do I request a referral?

Request a referral from your PCP or any other physician who is a part of your care. The referring provider should indicate “OT evaluation and treat – pre-driving eval” on the referral to better ensure your insurance will cover this service.

Contact us

Ready get back into the driver’s seat? Start by talking to your doctor for a referral. Next, call us!

Mary Free Bed Grand Rapids Campus
235 Wealthy St. SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

P: 616.840.8005
F: 616.840.9642

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. 
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