Research Article  |   February 2019
Understanding Characteristics and Experiences of Drivers Using Vehicle Modifications
Author Affiliations
  • Marilyn Di Stefano, PhD, BAppSc(OccTher), GradDip(Erg), CPE, is Senior Policy Officer, VicRoads, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. At the time of the study, she was Honorary Senior Lecturer, Department of Occupational Therapy, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; marilyn.distefano@roads.vic.gov.au
  • Rwth Stuckey, PhD, is Course Coordinator and Senior Lecturer (Ergonomics, Safety and Health), College of Science, Health and Engineering, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
  • Natasha Kinsman, MND, is Research Assistant, Department of Public Health, College of Science, Health and Engineering, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
Article Information
Community Mobility and Driving / Rehabilitation, Participation, and Disability / Research Articles
Research Article   |   February 2019
Understanding Characteristics and Experiences of Drivers Using Vehicle Modifications
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, February 2019, Vol. 73, 7301205050p1-7301205050p9. doi:10.5014/ajot.2019.023721
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, February 2019, Vol. 73, 7301205050p1-7301205050p9. doi:10.5014/ajot.2019.023721
Abstract

Little is known about characteristics and driving patterns of drivers with physical disabilities who use vehicle modifications (VMs). We gathered information about, and from, drivers with disabilities who use VMs to better understand their needs and to inform current occupational therapy driver rehabilitation practice. A prospective descriptive cross-sectional analysis of 97 drivers with physical disabilities who used VMs identified that most participants were dependent on wheelchairs for personal mobility and that access to key destinations without independent driver mobility was difficult or impossible. Personal independence facilitated by VM use enhanced community participation, including access to health care and employment. Slightly more than half the surveyed drivers (51%) obtained occupational therapy services for driver assessment and VM evaluation. Participants reported VM safety and maintenance issues, including difficulties obtaining appropriate VMs. Study results highlight the potential value of occupational therapy driver assessments and the need for postimplementation review of VMs.