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Thread: Adaptive Driving- where do I begin?

  1. #1

    Adaptive Driving- where do I begin?

    Hello. I'm at a loss and I hope someone can help. It has been 4 years and I need to get "back behind the wheel." I've Googled and searched here and I can't seem to find the answers to my questions. I don't think I am going to need anything more than hand controls. Do I need to go to adaptive driving school 1st? I know someone who had hand controls installed in their vehicle; practiced; and were good to go. Will I need to pass a driving test?

    If it helps, I'm in the state of MA. I checked the DMV and MA Rehab Commission site to no avail. I've been pretty resourceful in the past and I must be missing something. I hope someone can point me in the right direction. Many thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    In WI when I was injured I had insurance pay for hand controls. The installer checked me out with them in the parking lot. Then I had to retake my driving test.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    I understand your frustration. I scoured MN's sites and could not find info. about it. I finally went in to renew my license and asked. The clerk asked if I had used hand controls before and I told her no. She asked three other people in the DMV office and said I did not have to do anything special. They did the normal eye test, took my pic. and I have my new license. I am set to get my hand controls Aug. 6th. I know I am not driving away from there but will practice on our driveway. I don't know how "legal" I am but the state knows that I am paralyzed and so does DMV.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    New York
    I not sure how it is in NY, but my father was able to get help adapting his van through Vesid (spelling might be off). He took a class at rehab how to drive with them. 3 lessions in a rehab in NJ. Can't recall the name, I know Sunnyview ( in schenectady, NY does driving also. Not sure where you are in MA

  5. #5
    I'm still unsure about each states requirements.
    For the most part there are no special requirements.
    You may see something on your liscense under other "Hand Controls Required"

    As far as getting practice, go to a parkin lot or some open spot.
    If you've driven before all the same rules apply, just you do some things differently.
    Rick Brauer or just call me - Mr B

  6. #6
    Senior Member wheeliecoach's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    East Haven, CT
    In CT I had to have a driver's assessment done to make sure I still had a good reaction time in order to only need hand controls (and not more adaptations). Then you are supposed to go through driver's training again through the DMV before you could get your license. I was lucky that I did not have to go through that. My roommate's boyfriend was going through that training, so his instructor just took me through a driver's test and verified that I could drive just fine without the extra classes.

    Unfortunately all states are different. I suggest (like the others on here) to contact the DMV in MA and ask them.
    "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot nothing's going to get better. It's not." - Dr. Seuss

  7. #7
    this thread has a guy who posted that claims to be an adaptive driving trainer. you may get some info from him...

  8. #8
    In my state (CA), as long as you still have a valid driver's license, you can purchase and install the hand controls and learn on your own, or take a course. It is your choice. You do not have to be retested or relicensed, although we do recommend it as it is a good way to have legal validation of your driving competence using hand controls. Some states do require retesting and relicensure before you can drive, and may also require installation is done only in specially licensed facilities.

    If you don't have a license, you will have to go through the process of getting a learner's permit again before you can take lessons, as you have to have a license for most training programs.

    Any local large rehab center should be able to refer you to either their own internal driver's training program or reputable ones in the community. Check with the PT or OT department to find out.


  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    In FL we need to be approved by a trainer before hand controls are installed. During my final lesson the trainer took me to DMV for road testing, since I needed to renew my license anyway. My license notes that I need eye glasses, and hand controls to be legal. I maintained my "safe driver" status, too!

    It took many calls to find a trainer!

  10. #10
    You should check with a company that installs hand controls and adaptive equipment in vehicles. They will be able to tell you. I was certified to drive while in rehab. When I went to have some hand controls installed in a new car I got, the company told me that they needed my certificate of training or an endorsement showing on my license in order to complete the install and give me my car back. They knew what was required of me per the state so check it out. I live in Florida and not MA so you can't go off of me; but give some nearby companies a call and see what they say.

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