Driving and Transportation
Drivers don't automatically lose their license after a stroke. However, a stroke can cause changes in vision, perception, cognition, and paralysis which impacts safety behind the wheel. Each state has its own guidelines about driving after stroke. It's important to follow these general guidelines:
- Speak with your doctor before you attempt to drive after your stroke.
- Contact your state's Department of Motor Vehicles to find out if the DMV requires an adaptive driving assessment.
- Find a certified driver rehabilitation specialist in your area by searching in the Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists website.
Driving Assessment after Stroke
A medically-based driver assessment is given by a certified driver rehabilitation specialist. In most cases, the assessment is typically not covered by health insurance and fees start at $300. The driving assessment has two-parts:
- Clinical, off-road evaluation of your cognitive, visual, perceptual skills as well as your reflexes and coordination
- Behind-the-wheel road test to evaluate your safety, driving ability, and assess the need for equipment.
After your assessment, the driver rehabilitation specialist may write a prescription for vehicle equipment and a vendor will install it. Some programs help pay for vehicle equipment. Examples include the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Once the equipment is installed in your vehicle, you may require additional training to properly use the vehicle equipment.
Vehicle Equipment and Resources
Steering wheel spinner knob for one-handed turning
Turn signal extension lever for persons with left arm weakness
Panoramic rearview mirror for persons with limited vision or difficulty turning your head
Car seat back cushion for improving posture while driving
The WheelMate app is a free smartphone app to make finding clean, accessible restrooms and parking spaces easier and more convenient.
Left foot accelerator for persons with right leg weakness
Blue Badge Parking is a free smartphone app. Using a phone's GPS, the app tracks the user's location and identifies the nearest disabled parking space.
Seat belt extender for ease in buckling
This section is currently under construction
Utilizing a public bus may be beneficial if you have the ability to walk. Typically buses are inexpensive when commuting through your local bus route. To find a bus route near you that suits your transportation needs, click here. According to CT Transit, all city buses are wheelchair accessible with trained individuals to help you get on and off the bus.
If traveling for a longer distance, using a train might be more suitable and cost effective than Uber or Lyft. Connecticut buses on the Hartford line and Amtrak trains are wheelchair accessible and accommodate disabilities.
Uber and Lyft are great options for individuals whose schedules do not align with that of a bus or train schedule. These services can be accessed via apps on a smartphone where you provide them with a pick up location and they bring you to your desired end location.
Transportation According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
Know your rights! Click here for more details about transportation according to the ADA. Knowing what your rights are, is the first step to successful self-advocacy and advocacy for loved ones. Based on information from the National Network website, all new public transportation buses on a fixed route are required to provide accessibility accommodations and supplemental paratransit options for those whose abilities are not conducive to public transit.
What are paratransit services?
Paratransit services are transportation services available to individuals with disabilities who whose route or destination is within 3/4 mile from a bus route or rail station. Eligibility is determined by local communities and one typically has to fill out an application and interview. To find out if you are eligible in Connecticut, click here to contact your local paratransit service community. Also, for more information about paratransit services, click here.
The U.S. Department of Transportation Livability Initiative is another great resource for learning about ADA benefits related to transportation and plans for accommodation in the future.
The Community Transportation Association of America is a volunteer driver service where people volunteer to drive people with disabilities when other services are not conducive to their needs. Drivers go through a background check and are deemed responsible and suitable for this position.
Easter Seals Project Action Consulting is an organization that provides professional consultation for ADA accessibility transportation issues and discrepancies. This is a wonderful tool for advocacy.
The National Aging and Disability Transportation Center is an organization designed to promote the availability and accessibility for transportation for older adults and people with disabilities.
The American Public Transportation Association aims at promoting awareness of news, advocacy, and opportunities for ADA transportation.