Driver Rehabilitation Program

The ability to drive offers individuals with disabilities the opportunity to lead more independent lives. Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation provides a comprehensive Driver Rehabilitation Program for clients who need to develop or improve their current driving capacities.

This unique program includes a multidisciplinary evaluation and training to individuals with physical, cognitive and/or vision impairments resulting from traumatic injury, illness or aging.

Our Approach

Kessler's team of certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialists help individuals gain the skills and strategies necessary to be on the road safely. Both new and experienced drivers may benefit from this program, which focuses on the various mobility issues involved in returning to driving.

A prescription from a referring physician is required.

Driver Evaluation

Clients in Kessler's Driver Rehabilitation Program undergo an extensive evaluation of current skills and abilities.

  • Pre-Driver Evaluation (PDE): This portion of the evaluation is conducted in a clinical setting. The evaluation includes an assessment of physical abilities, vision, reaction time and perceptual-cognitive capacities. Clients must pass the vision acuity element in order to progress to the Behind-the-Wheel evaluation.
  • Behind-the-Wheel Evaluation (BTW): This assessment is performed in a Kessler Institute vehicle that is adapted/modified to meet any special requirements. Clients will drive in a variety of different traffic patterns according to their capabilities. Vehicles, both sedans and vans are outfitted with primary control adaptations for those who require such devices.

Clients must posses a valid driver's license or permit from any state to be eligible for Behind-the Wheel evaluation. Our staff can assist in obtaining the necessary permit.

The evaluation will include recommendations for further training, vehicle modification and/or a referral to the Division of Motor Vehicles.

Driver Training

Training is provided in Kessler vehicles, except under highly unusual circumstances where the client's own adapted/modified vehicle is used. Sessions, which are conducted both on Kessler grounds and within the community are tailored to meet the client's needs and are scheduled accordingly. The number of lesions required varies, based on the individual's level of ability and progress.

Additional Services

When appropriate, referrals will be made for vision rehabilitation, wheelchair seating/positioning, cognitive rehabilitation, and physical, occupational or speech therapy to improve driving skills and optimize success in the Driver Rehabilitation Program.

Vehicle Modification

Kessler's Certified Driving Specialists will explore any necessary modifications and/or adaptations that will need to be made to a client's own car or van with the individual and his/her family. In addition, our staff will discuss vehicle options and the processes involved, as well as offer information on mobility equipment dealers. Prescriptions are generated for those requiring transport only.

New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission Road Test

Upon successful completion of the training program, clients may be required to take a state road test to secure a license. Kessler's Driver Rehabilitation Specialists can assist in the process by accompanying individuals on the day of the test and providing use of a Kessler vehicle, if necessary

For More Information

For more information about Kessler's Driver Rehabilitation Program, contact Kessler's West Orange Campus.