Providence Disabled Driver's Program

The Disabled Driver's Evaluation Program is for people who have experienced an illness or injury that has impaired their cognitive, visual or motor skills. The program helps determine whether or not safe operation of a motor vehicle is possible and assists with alternative transportation options, if necessary. We work closely with the Alaska Division of Motor Vehicles' Driver Improvement Office. Also, be sure to inquire with us about driving adaptive equipment available in your area.

All participants in the program must have a prescription from a licensed Alaskan physician prior to scheduling an appointment. Our offices can help facilitate the prescription process if required. Referral sources are accepted from any concerned individual, family member or agency.

Possible Participant Diagnoses
Some people who have experienced serious illness or injury may not know how their driving skills are affected. As an activity of daily living, driving is an important component of our occupational therapy program.

Program participants may include people who have:
  • Alzheimer's
  • Dementia
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Brain Attack/Stroke
  • Psychiatric Disorders 
  • Autism
  • Anoxia
  • Arthritis
  • Amputations
  • Multiple Trauma
  • Polio/Post Polio
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries
  • Peripheral Neuropathies
  • Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Congenital Abnormalities

Description of Program
The Disabled Driver's Evaluation Program includes three separate phases. All evaluations are performed at the Providence Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Therapy Center.

Phase I - In-Clinic Evaluation
Time: Approximately 45 minutes

  • Evaluation of mobility to and from/in and out of vehicle
  • Computerized evaluation of visual-motor reaction times with and without distractions present
  • Evaluation of cognitive skills, such as new learning, processing speed and abstract and concrete problem solving skills

Phase II - On The Road Evaluation 
Time: Approximately 75 minutes

  • Evaluation of preliminary vehicle set-up
  • Evaluation of topographical orientation and route planning/implementation. During this phase, participants will drive in familiar and unfamiliar sections of town.
  • Review of proper lane placement, merging, highway driving, parking lot awareness, use of mirrors, head turn, basic traffic skills and technical operation of the vehicle.

Phase III - Driver Training and Adaptive Equipment Review
Time: Approximately 1 to 1 ½ hours

  • Assess adaptive equipment needs
  • Evaluate operation of equipment immediately available (hand controls, steering devices, pedal extension and a left foot accelerator are examples of devices available in the program vehicle).
  • Telephone contact with local vendors for equipment research on modifications, as needed.
  • Minor modifications, as needed, handled in-house
  • Follow-up evaluations are performed once installation of adaptive equipment is completed to ensure everything is in proper working condition and the participant feels comfortable in their vehicle.
  • Letter to Division of Motor Vehicles is issued stating new modifications and restrictions. A road test is generally not required at this point if participant was previously licensed.
  • New drivers who have never been licensed before may have on the road raining in this phase to determine safe performance.

Special Note:
Alaska is not equipped to perform evaluations or installations of some highly sensitive adaptive equipment such as those required for C5 tetraplegic drivers. We will provide information on programs in Colorado and California for participant review.

For more information
To learn more about the Providence Disabled Driver's Program, please call (907) 212-6300. To find general information and specific health topics, visit our online health library.