Frequently Asked Questions

What do I need to do to schedule an appointment?

Capuchino Therapy Group will need all of the following information before an appointment can be scheduled:

  1. Copy of your valid driver’s license or permit.
  2. Copy of your current eye exam prescription (if applicable).
  3. Completed Driver Rehabilitation Intake Paperwork (document is an editable PDF which can be downloaded, saved to your computer, and emailed back to us at info@capuchinotherapy.com after completion.)
  4. Referral form or written prescription completed by your physician.  
  5. If your medical condition is a result of a work-related injury, Workers’ Compensation cases also require an authorization for the evaluation and training provided in the use of any recommended adaptive equipment.  (Please ask your case manager to contact us at (916) 481-1300 to coordinate and finalize the details.) 

What is a Physician’s Referral?

A written Referral/Prescription is required from your physician.  For your convenience, a blank referral form is included as the last page of our Driver Rehabilitation Intake Paperwork.  You may also download it here.  Your physician needs to complete it and fax it back to our office at (916) 365-9870.

My license has been suspended, can I still be evaluated?

To schedule our services, all clients should have a current driver’s license or temporary permit. This allows the behind the wheel evaluation to legally take place on the highways. Otherwise, the evaluation is limited to the clinical portion only.  

If you do not have a current driver’s license or permit, the Certified Driving Rehabilitation Specialist (CDRS) may be able to assist you in requesting a temporary permit from your local DMV Driver Safety Office.  (The various office locations can be found here.) Clients must also be seizure free for at least six (6) months.  If not seizure free, they must have a doctor’s waiver.

How are your fees billed or invoiced?  Is the driving evaluation covered by medical insurance?

Independent Living Program (ILP), Workers’ Compensation, or private/self-pay are potential funding sources. If the client is private/self-pay, full payment is expected at the time the service is rendered.*  Private insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid do not reimburse for driver evaluations or other services since driving is considered a privilege and not a medical necessity.  (*Should adaptive equipment be recommended, the cost of such equipment and the training to use it would be an additional cost.)

If your medical condition is a result of a work injury, sometimes Workers’ Compensation cases will cover a driving evaluation if prior authorization is obtained for the evaluation and the training provided in the use of any recommended adaptive equipment.  (Please ask your case manager to contact us at (916) 481-1300 to coordinate and finalize the details.)

In addition, if you are a veteran, a driving assessment may be covered and can be performed free of charge by the Palo Alto VA Hospital or an approved provider.  (More information can be found here.)

In most cases, you must self-pay for a driving evaluation and any adaptive equipment training.  The cost varies depending on the driving specialist, the location, and type of services provided.  It is very important for you to collaborate with your healthcare team in advance to seek out a driving assessment at an optimal and appropriate time in your recovery.

If I need adaptive equipment, can you direct me to a specific company for my vehicle’s modifications? 

Due to the competitive nature of the vehicle modification industry, Capuchino Therapy Group can provide a list of vehicle modifiers certified to install and service your adaptive equipment. If your needs are product specific and can only be acquired by a certain dealer or manufacturer, you will be informed of this issue. In every situation, the ideal customer is one that checks all the local vehicle modifiers, interviews them for service availability, warranty lengths, after-hours emergency service, and the length of time needed for vehicle modification. We believe that the client should make their own informed choice of vehicle modifier.

I am looking to purchase a new vehicle but I already have adaptive equipment installed in my current one, may I transfer the adaptive equipment into the new vehicle?

No, new adaptive equipment will need to be purchased and installed in the new vehicle due to warranty and liability issues.  In addition, depending on the age of the adaptive equipment currently in use, purchasing new equipment could possibly be beneficial due to newer technology being available.

I have already purchased hand controls, why do I have to be evaluated before getting them installed in my vehicle?

It is required that a person receive driver evaluation and training whenever steering, accelerator or braking modifications are installed in a person’s vehicle.  Driving is a complex task that involves more than the physical ability to operate controls.  Adequate vision, reflexes, and cognitive skills are required to process what one sees and how effectively the driver can react in order to ensure safe decisions behind the wheel.  It is not only the driver’s safety which is involved but also the safety of the other individuals on the road.  Liability issues often arise should an at-fault accident occur.

The Certified Driving Rehabilitation Specialist (CDRS) could also determine that the adaptive equipment you have purchased may not be conducive to your physical needs and may recommend the use of alternative equipment.  Therefore, to avoid unnecessary purchases and additional expenses, it is highly recommended that one wait until after the driving evaluation has been completed before purchasing any adaptive equipment.

What types of medical conditions must a physician report to the DMV?

Physicians are required by law (Heath & Safety Code Section 103900) to report disorders characterized by lapses of consciousness, as well as Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. Additionally, they may report any other condition if they believe it would affect the driver’s ability to drive safely.

What can the DMV do about a person who may be unable to drive safely due to a physical or mental condition or disorder?

California law (Vehicle Code Sections 13800, 13801) permits the DMV to investigate and reexamine a person’s ability to safely drive a motor vehicle for a variety of reasons, including information coming to the department’s attention that a person has a physical or mental disorder that may affect his or her ability to drive safely.

I have had a change in my medical status, am I still allowed to drive?

Your doctor must be the one to medically clear you to drive. It is common after an injury that your doctor may request (and write a prescription for you to get) a behind the wheel driving assessment by a Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist (CDRS) or Occupational Therapist (OT).  Often, the doctor will base their decision on the results reported back to them from this behind the wheel driving assessment.

Why should I report my change in medical status to the DMV?

In some cases, your doctor or healthcare team may have already reported to the DMV that you had a change in medical status and may not be safe to return to driving. If you are returning to driving and your doctor did not report a change in medical status to the DMV, it is very important you report the change to protect yourself legally. For example, if you never reported a change in your medical status to the DMV and you got into an accident that was not your fault, you would not have good documentation that you are safe and medically cleared to drive.

If I have been medically cleared to drive by my doctor, do I still need to report my change in medical status?

Yes.  Call your local DMV or DMV Driving Safety Office and request a driving re-evaluation. The next step to return to driving varies on a case by case basis. Sometimes, the DMV will use the documentation from a doctor that you are medically cleared to drive and state that you do not need a driving re-evaluation. If this happens, you should request documentation from the DMV stating that you had requested a driving re-evaluation and that the DMV stated you did not need it.  In other cases, the DMV may ask you to get a medical clearance form filled out by your doctor and/or the DMV will sign you up for a driving re-evaluation which includes the written test and behind the wheel driving exam.

How do I let the DMV know about a family member, relative or acquaintance whom I believe may no longer be a safe driver?

You may request that the DMV review his or her driving qualifications by completing a Request for Driver Reexamination (Form DS 699) or writing to your local Driver Safety Office.

What is the difference between going to a Driver’s Education Teacher vs. an Occupational Therapist for a behind the wheel driving assessment?

A discussion with your healthcare team may be helpful in determining which professional is most appropriate for your specific situation.

In general, if a person has continued challenges with cognition (memory and attention), visual perception (visual field deficit), or physical weakness that may require adaptive equipment in the car or driving training sessions, your healthcare team may suggest working with an Occupational Therapist. Typically, Occupational Therapists have more in-depth training and education with cognition, vision, and physical disabilities. 

 If I get an evaluation by a Certified Driving Rehabilitation Specialist (CDRS), will I still need to do a DMV behind the wheel driving assessment?

It is always recommended to self-report. The DMV will often use the Certified Driving Rehabilitation Specialist’s report rather than re-testing you.

What happens if I do not pass the behind the wheel driving test at the DMV? Is there a waiting period before I get re-tested?

Typically, you have up to three (3) attempts to pass. The DMV will decide on any waiting periods and how many attempts they may allow based upon their review of your specific situation.

What are the California laws for vision requirements for returning to driving?

The CA law states that a person must have 20/40 corrected visual acuity to be eligible to return to driving. If you have a visual field deficit, a CDRS can evaluate your visual scanning skills while driving to assess if you would be safe to return to driving. Often, people with visual field deficits may need to participate in visual scanning training with an Outpatient Occupational Therapist before the behind the wheel assessment.

Before returning to driving, how long do I have to be free of seizures?

You must be seizure free for at least six (6) months or be medically cleared by your doctor.