Driving assessment by an occupational therapist


Being able to drive a car on their own is a symbol of independence for many people. However, in some cases, the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) requires an individual to undergo a driving assessment to determine if they possess the skills and abilities necessary to drive a vehicle without endangering anyone.


This assessment must be carried out by occupational therapist who will evaluate several criteria. Let’s take a look at what this entails.


What is this assessment?

The goal of assessing someone’s ability to drive is to observe the individual’s physical and mental capacities via a series of tests. These will determine if the individual’s specific condition prevents them from being able to drive in a safe manner.


There are two parts to the evaluation. First, the occupational therapist will evaluate the patient’s overall condition. Second, the patient will take the wheel and the occupational therapist will confirm their observations.


Overall assessment

First, the occupational therapist will talk with the patient to understand their driving habits as well as what daily activities require them to drive. The occupational therapist will then proceed with a series of tests to assess the patient’s muscle capacities, strength, gross motor skills, etc. They will also test the patient’s perceptual-cognitive functions to see if the patient has the focus, coordination, reflexes, and sight necessary for driving.


This part of the assessment will last between one and two hours, depending on the patient’s condition.

Assessing the patient’s driving abilities

This part is a practical evaluation of the patient’s ability to drive and is carried out in the presence of a driving instructor. The occupational therapist will be able to observe the patient’s ability to drive, their reactions on the road, and the way they handle the vehicle. This part of the test will allow the driving instructor to verify if the patient adheres to the Highway Safety Code.


After the assessment

The occupational therapist will be able to make recommendations as to the conditions their patient must respect for driving. For example, the occupational therapist may suggest the patient modifies their vehicle or follows driving lessons to update their knowledge of the Highway Safety Code and driving techniques.


The occupational therapist will send the results of their assessment to the SAAQ. It is important to note that the final decision whether or not to grant someone a driver’s licence is made by the SAAQ.


Who might need to undergo this assessment?

There are many reasons why the SAAQ might require an individual to undergo an assessment by a professional, such as:

  • A disability that affects their motor skills. The professional will have to make sure that the patient is mobile enough and has the necessary reflexes to drive.
  • A condition (disability, disease) that affects their cognitive abilities. The occupational therapist will then determine if the person has the ability to focus and the mental capacities necessary to drive.
  • After an accident, such as a head injury, that affects their ability to concentrate.
  • A condition that affects their vision, if they lose their sight in one eye for instance.


These are only a few examples of conditions that can affect an individual’s ability to drive. If a health problem, no matter what type, affects your ability to drive, you must notify the SAAQ.


In-home occupational therapy assessment

Clinique GO™ provides occupational therapy services directly at your home, or in any other location that is convenient for you. Our mobile services will allow you to quickly obtain the assessment you need, without the need to travel anywhere!


If you are concerned that you, or a loved one, has been affected by a condition that hinders your ability to drive, call upon our mobile services!