Prescribing the Road to Independence

Mobility Works' Driver Evaluation Program can help those with a disability get what they need to drive on their own

Monday, May 13, 2013 | 2:32 pm

For a person with disabilities, the road to freedom and independence may be a prescription away.

There are many potential solutions for helping an individual that uses a wheelchair enhance their mobility. “It’s very, very important that each individual go through a thorough driver evaluation to make sure that they’re capable of driving a vehicle safely and securely,” say Tim Russo, a Certified Mobility Consultant (CMC) at MobilityWorks.

MobilityWorks’ Driver Evaluation Program is more than just for the safety of the driver, it is there “to make sure that a person with a disability gets the proper equipment and installation into a handicapped vehicle; each vehicle is customized to that individual,” says Russo. The evaluation is performed by trained and Certified Driving Rehabilitation Specialists, also called CDR’s. Many of the evaluators are also trained as Occupational Therapists; they have to go through a rigorous certification program to become driving instructors for the disabled.

CDRs evaluate a client and write a prescription for the specific needs of each client. “Then one of the CMC’s will sit down with the client. The next step is to fill the prescription order and do the work as far as installing the equipment in the proper way to get the individual on the road,” says Russo.

Russo explains that the initial equipment installed is usually hand controls; this will enable the client to control the brake and gas. The setup can be installed on either the left side or right side depending on the CDR evaluation. A spinner knob is also added to assist in turning the vehicle.

For special cases, depending on the cognitive skills of the client, they may use the high-tech Drive-by-Wire hand controls. Drive-by- Wires is a control system fitted for vehicles, like a joystick controller, for controlling the gas and the brake. “Then they’ll have a little switch that they can tap with their elbow to turn signals and so forth,” Russo explains, “not a lot of movement is needed, yet control of the car is still achieved.”

It can be an amazing life-changing event!

Mobility Works is located at 325 N. Altadena Drive in Pasadena. To learn more about what they can offer you, visit or call (626) 584-8181.

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