Rehab Frequently Asked Questions

Consult with your doctor to make sure you are physically and psychologically prepared to drive. Being evaluated too soon after an injury, stroke, or other trauma may be misleading because it may show the need for adaptive equipment that you will not need in the future. You want to be functioning at your best when you have a driver evaluation. For the evaluation, you will need to take any equipment you normally use, such as a walker or neck brace. If you use a wheelchair and are planning to modify the wheelchair or obtain a new one, be sure to tell your driver rehabilitation specialist prior to the evaluation.


Driver rehabilitation specialists may also provide advice on compatibility and transportation safety issues for passengers with special needs. They determine the type of seating needed and the person’s ability to enter and exit the vehicle. They provide advice on the purchase of modified vehicles and recommend appropriate wheelchair lifts or other equipment that would work in your vehicle.

If you have a child who requires a special type of safety seat, evaluators make sure the seat fits your child properly. They also make sure you can properly install the seat in your vehicle. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) or your pediatrician can provide information on the safe transportation of children with special needs. You can also visit the AAP Web site (aap.org) to access information about car safety seats for children with special needs.

Although the purchase or lease of a vehicle is your responsibility, your mobility equipment dealer and driver rehabilitation specialist are qualified to ensure the vehicle you select can be modified to meet your adaptive equipment needs. Take the time to consult with these professionals before you make your purchase decision. To find a qualified dealer in your area, contact the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA). To find a qualified driver rehabilitation specialist, contact the Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists (ADED). The following questions can help with vehicle selection. They can also help determine if you can modify a vehicle you already own:

  • Does the vehicle have the cargo capacity (in pounds) to accommodate the equipment you require?
  • Will there be enough space and cargo capacity to accommodate your family or other passengers once the vehicle is modified?
  • Is there adequate parking space at home and at work for the vehicle and for loading/unloading a wheelchair?
  • Is there adequate parking space to maneuver if you use a walker?
  • What additional options are necessary for the safe operation of the vehicle?

If a third party is paying for the vehicle, adaptive devices, or modification costs, find out if there are any limitations or restrictions on what is covered. Always get a written statement on what a funding agency will pay before making your purchase. Once you select and purchase a vehicle, be aware that you will need to also purchase insurance to cover your vehicle while it's being modified — even though it will be off the road during this period.


Check to see that you can enter and exit the vehicle with ease. If possible, take it out for a test drive. How well does the car fit your body? To prevent air bag-related injury, you should keep 10 inches between your breast bone and the steering wheel, which contains the driver’s side air bag. At the same time, you’ll need to be able to easily reach the pedals while maintaining a comfortable line of sight above the adjusted steering wheel. Also, make sure the vehicle provides you with good visibility in all directions — front, rear, and sides. Your dealer can demonstrate the use of adaptive features, such as adjustable foot pedals and driver seats, which can help ensure a good person-vehicle fit. Check to see if the model you are considering purchasing has good crash test results and is resistant to rollover. Visit our Ratings section or call NHTSA’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at 888-327-4236 to obtain government crash test results and rollover ratings for specific makes and models.

When selecting a vehicle, look for and ask about available features designed to improve both the comfort and safety of drivers with disabilities. Some of these features are:

  • High or extra-wide doors;
  • Adjustable foot pedals;
  • Large interior door handles;
  • Over sized knobs with clearly visible labels;
  • Support handles to assist with entry and exit;
  • Large or adjustable-size print for dashboard gauges;
  • Seat adjusters that can move the seat in all directions — particularly raising it so the driver’s line of sight is 3” above the adjusted steering wheel; and
  • Dashboard-mounted ignition rather than steering column-mounted ignition.


Both new and experienced drivers need training on how to safely use newly installed adaptive equipment. Your equipment installer and driver rehabilitation specialist should provide information on the new devices and off-road instruction. But literature and off-road instruction aren’t enough to equip you to drive safely with your new adaptive equipment. This equipment can be very complex. So it’s extremely important to obtain on-the-road training and practice with a driver rehabilitation specialist who has advanced expertise and knowledge of adaptive technologies. If your driver rehabilitation specialist does not offer such training, ask him or her for a referral, or inquire at your local driver licensing office. State vocational rehabilitation departments and workers’ compensation will pay for driver education and training under certain circumstances. At a minimum, their staffs can help you locate a qualified driver rehabilitation specialist to provide training. Finally, remember to enlist the help of a family member or friend to drive you to all of your training sessions. (It’s important to have someone else who can drive your vehicle in case of an emergency.)

Medical Evaluations

Company Drivers/New Hires/Workers Comp

Medical Evaluation Information