How to Get Started with Clinical Driver Evaluations

How to Get Started with Clinical Driver Evaluations

This post was sponsored by Barber’s Driving School who offers a self-paced and evidence-based online CODE-CCDE Clinical Driver Evaluations course for generalist OTs. The course will help you become more confident in completing clinical driving evaluations. We’ll be sharing more on this course below along with a 25% off discount for My OT Spot readers!

Are you interested in helping your patients return to driving? The great news is that you actually don’t need to become a certified driver rehabilitation specialist (CDRS) or work in a driving rehab clinic to get started. You can provide initial driving evaluations as a generalist occupational therapist to help your patients return to driving (when it is safe for them to do so).

If your patient needs further evaluation on the road or equipment training/vehicle modifications after your initial eval, you can then refer to a trained behind the wheel instructor/driving school for Tier I patients who do not require any equipment, or a certified driver rehab specialist (CDRS) who can see Tier I-III patients. Not every patient will need this secondary referral.

There is a big need for generalist OTs to perform these initial driving evaluations, which is why we were contacted by the OTs behind this introductory driving evaluation course. Waitlists for driving evaluations can be months long, so we really need more generalist OTs to provide this invaluable service. This course will help you get started with completing these initial driver evaluations, no matter what adult setting you work in. 

Enroll in the Clinical Driver Evaluations Course

Enroll Now


Course Title: Clinical Driver Evaluations

This introductory course is a 10 hour CEU course that is fully online and self-paced. The presenters are Cara Harman OTD, OTR/L and Dustin Abram OTR/L, CDRS.

Course Cost

The 10 hour course is only $195 and until March 15th, 2024 you can get an additional 25% off when you use our promo code MOS25.

Course Description

Driving is an intricately woven activity that demands the harmonious interplay of various physical and cognitive functions. While age is not the sole determinant of an individual’s driving competence, it is prudent for older drivers to undergo a comprehensive evaluation. This evaluation can pinpoint and address any potential shortcomings, enhancing overall road safety.

Regrettably, the accessibility of these evaluations for the expanding demographic of older adults faces significant barriers. Recognizing this challenge, the CODE-CCDE program model emerges as a pioneering solution, employing a distinctive collaborative approach within the spectrum of driver services. The spectrum itself is a product of joint efforts by The Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists and AOTA, establishing a standardized framework for language and models in driving programs.

At the heart of the CODE-CCDE model lies a commitment to excellence through continuous training and support for participating providers, predominantly occupational therapists or physical therapists. This ensures that clinical driving evaluations are not merely competent but strive for superiority, adhering rigorously to established best practice guidelines. The result is a program that not only addresses the specific needs of older drivers but also sets a gold standard for driving evaluation services.

driving rehab evaluation

After completion of this 10-hour course, you will be able to:

  • Apply knowledge of medical conditions with implications to driving
  • Assess the cognitive, visual, perceptual, behavioral and physical limitations that may impact driving performance
  • Integrate the clinical findings with assessment of on-road performance
  • Synthesize client and caregiver needs and assist in decisions about available options
  • Coordinate with multidisciplinary providers to provide resources related to the needs of clients

What does this course entail?

This course will guide you through the steps of a comprehensive clinical driver evaluation for Tier I patients, meaning these patients will not require adaptive equipment. Specifically, the modules will provide valuable information on the cognitive, visual, perceptual, behavioral and physical limitations that may impact driving performance.

It will also focus on evaluating common medical conditions impacting driving safety without the need to modify a vehicle such as dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, and CVA. This course will NOT provide information on car modifications or adaptive equipment options.

What is the course’s level and audience? 

This course is considered Introductory or Intermediate level for occupational therapists and physical therapists (including OT/PT students, professors, and practitioners with any level of experience in the field).

What equipment is required for a driver evaluation?

The clinical evaluation requires minimal equipment to assess the driver. Many of the assessments use printed materials or standard therapy equipment, such as a goniometer and Snellen Chart. Some specialty tools like the Optec vision screener can make the evaluation easier and more efficient for the clinician to assess vision in real-time.

Clinics lacking this resource can still provide the service, but the clinician should recommend an ophthalmology evaluation for patients with advanced vision problems (such as field cuts) to ensure they meet minimum vision standards for driving before referring the patient for the on-road assessment.

You can access cognitive assessment tools in our database, including the SLUMS, Short Blessed Test, Trail Making Part A and B, along with resources for scoring/norming.

Is a car necessary for clinical driver evaluations?

No – the clinical evaluation focuses solely on performing assessments in a clinic or the patient’s home. The clinical evaluation is the first step in the process of the comprehensive driving evaluation and is meant to identify any issues that could affect driving performance.

Once the clinical evaluation is complete, the clinician refers the patient to the on-road evaluation provider who performs the in-car driving portion of the comprehensive driving evaluation.

In what settings can driving evaluations be conducted?

Primarily, clinical driver evaluations occur in OT/PT outpatient clinics. However, this training is also valuable for inpatient rehab, acute care, and home-based therapists to address their patient’s driving goals and identify warning signs of driving safety. Clinicians in any setting can learn how to screen patients effectively before recommending a formal clinical driver evaluation.

ot driving evaluation

Do I have to pass an exam to get credit?

Yes – there are two 50 question exams based on content directly from the modules. You must score >70% to move on to the second half of the course AND in order to get credit for completion of the course. You will have 2 attempts for each exam to pass. If you do not pass after the second attempt, then you must retake the modules.

My state is listed as “no pre-approval required.” What does this mean?

According to your state organization or board, this course should be acceptable based on their guidelines. For example, many PT states do not require pre-approval if it is approved by another APTA state chapter. Like many PT states, some OT states also do not pre-approve courses and others share reciprocity with other states organizations for CEU courses. If you are ever in doubt, please check with your state board. 

Any Questions?

Contact Cara Harman OTD, OTR/L at for any further questions or information about this course. 

Enroll in the Clinical Driver Evaluations Course

Enroll Now


We hope this article and course inspires you to dive into this very much-needed service.

To learn more about how OTs can help patients return to driving, you can check out our other article, Occupational Therapy’s Role in Driver Rehabilitation


You may also like

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.