Vehicle Modifications and Driving Assessments

Last updated:
RAP Schedule no.

AP24 (Driving Assessment) 

AP01 (Vehicle Modifications) 

AP20 (Training for use of a Vehicle Modifications)

AP23 (Car Hoist)

Refer to the RAP Schedule.
Definition

A driving assessment refers to an assessment of a person’s driving skills to identify the potential need for a vehicle modification. The assessment must be undertaken by a certified driving Occupational Therapist (OT).

Note: Driving assessments do not include assessment for fitness to drive or cognitive ability to drive and/or driver rehabilitation.

A vehicle modification is a modification made to a car/van (vehicle) to allow an entitled person (client) with a disability to access, drive, or travel in.  These include modifications and equipment to assist with transfers, manual wheelchair transport (hoists), seating needs (rotating seats for transfers), customised driving controls and other related devices.

DVA does not fund equipment such as vehicle trailers and modifications for the transport of electric mobility aids e.g. electric scooters and wheelchairs.

Manual vehicles will not be converted to automatic.

Modifications to a client’s vehicle will only be considered, if the vehicle is roadworthy and the age and condition of the vehicle is suitable for modification. DVA does not fund the purchase of vehicles under this program.

Vehicle modifications assessments are only to be undertaken by appropriately qualified assessing health providers.

Vehicle modifications must be carried out by workshops and tradespeople specialising in car modifications.

Modified vehicle training – DVA will fund the cost of instructional lessons in how to drive the modified vehicle.  This excludes normal driving lessons, or to re-learn driving skills. DVA normally funds up to six lessons.

Eligibility

The client must have a clinical need for a vehicle modification and/or a driving assessment due to a war-caused injury (WCI), disease or an accepted disability. War widows/ers or dependents are not eligible for vehicle modifications and driving assessments.

This applies to both Gold and White Card holders.

There is a limit of one vehicle modification and one driving assessment per client. Requests exceeding this limit may be considered if adequate clinical justification is provided.

Prescribing
Suitably qualified health provider

The initial request for a driving assessment, vehicle modifications and subsequent training must come from a GP or LMO.

Driving and vehicle modifications assessments and training must be undertaken by a certified driving (OT). A certified driving OT has specialist post-graduate qualifications in driving assessment.

Simple vehicle modifications such as a car seat, hoist, mirrors and step modifications may be prescribed by a suitable OT.

Prior approval and Request for item

Prior approval is required before proceeding with each stage.

A driving assessment will take place before vehicle modifications are considered.

Prior approval for a driving assessment is a three step process:

  • The initial request for the driving assessment must be from a GP/LMO.

See Supporting Documentation section for more details.

If required, DVA will refer to a certified driving OT to provide a quote for the assessment and report.

  • The preliminary assessment (as appropriate) will be conducted by the certified driving OT with the client to develop a plan. The plan may include a driving assessment in a specialised vehicle with dual controls, a driving instructor and a number of lessons. The driving OT will submit a plan with the quote to DVA for approval to rapgeneralenquiries [at] dva.gov.au
  • Full Assessment - Once the plan and quote have been approved by DVA, the certified driving OT will conduct the full assessment and training of the client in a specialised vehicle with a driving instructor, if applicable.

If appropriate, the driving OT submits a request for vehicle modifications as per below.

If the assessment does not support a vehicle modification, a report from the driving OT is sent to the GP/LMO and DVA at rapgeneralenquiries [at] dva.gov.au.

The request for a vehicle modification following the driving assessment

  • On completion of the full driving assessment (above) the driving OT forwards the assessment report with supporting documentation prescribing the vehicle modifications, quotes, D9381 Authority to Install/Modify a Vehicle form, and any further training or assessment requirements to DVA rapgeneralenquiries [at] dva.gov.au for consideration.
  • Installation and training
Once the recommended vehicle modification and training has been approved, the installation, training and reassessment can be undertaken.
  • Report on completion
The driving OT provides DVA rapgeneralenquiries [at] dva.gov.au with a completion report to verify that the modifications meet the prescribed specifications and the client can operate the vehicle safely. This should occur before payment is made for the work.

Supporting documentation for prior approval request

The initial request

If the client is the driver, the initial request must provide:

  • all necessary clinical information confirming that the client:
    • is unable to safely drive or travel in an unmodified vehicle
    • has the necessary functional ability (physical, cognitive and visuospatial) to safely operate a modified vehicle, and
    • needs are not met by simpler car modifications or aids.
  • proof the client has a current driving licence
  • proof of ownership of the vehicle to be modified (see Vehicle ownership and licenses below for more information).

When the client is the passenger and requires the vehicle to be modified for their use. The initial request must provide:

  • all necessary clinical information confirming that the client:
    • is unable to travel in an unmodified vehicle,
    • has the necessary functional ability to safely use a modified vehicle, and
    • needs are not met by simpler car modifications or aids.
  • proof of ownership of the vehicle to be modified (see Vehicle ownership and licenses below for more information).

DVA will not fund the removal of completed vehicle modification if they are no longer functionally required.

Supporting documentation - must include:

  • the assessment report ,
  • relevant medical reports,
  • details of the most appropriate vehicle modifications including information on the range of products considered,
  • quotes for the vehicle modifications, and
  • the anticipated number of lessons required for the driver to be trained in the use of the modified vehicle (maximum of six lessons).

Completion report following the vehicle modification and training must include confirmation that the vehicle modifications:

  • meet prescribed specifications,
  • were carried out by an appropriately qualified person,
  • meet relevant Australian, State/ Territory standards, 
  • the client/driver is confident and capable of safely operating the vehicle and understands their safety responsibilities, and
  • all State / Territory licencing reporting requirements have been fulfilled.

DVA on receipt of the completion report will send letters clarifying the responsibilities to the client, the initial requester(GP/LMO), and the prescribing OT including:

  • the requirement to report any changes in the client’s circumstances which would impact on their ability to safely drive or travel in the modified vehicle,
  • the client’s requirement to advise their insurance company of the vehicle modifications,
  • the client’s requirement to use the modified vehicle safely in accordance with local and State/Territory Government requirements, and
  • DVA does not fund insurances covering the modifications made and is not liable for any accidents in which the vehicle may be involved.
Additional information
Australian Standards and legislative requirements Australian Standards include ‘Motor Vehicle controls/adaptive systems for people with disabilities/general requirements’ AS3954:2019, and ‘Motor vehicle controls/adaptive systems for people with disabilities/hand controls/product requirements’, AS3954.2/1991.
State legislative requirements

Modifications requiring alteration(s) to driving controls may require local licence endorsement.  In all instances, these modifications should conform to relevant State/Territory Government requirements.

Clients must comply with all state and territory legislation.

Client must be aware the use of alcohol, medication (prescription and over the counter) and illicit drugs may impair their ability to safely drive the vehicle.
Vehicle ownership and licences

The client must verify ownership of the vehicle, and possession of a suitably endorsed licence where required – by them or some other person who will have responsibility for driving the vehicle – before DVA will proceed with modification.

If the vehicle was purchased with the knowledge of specific disability and the client was not reasonably able to foresee the need for the modification at the time of purchase.

Modifications to vehicles with unsuitable designs and configurations such as inadequate vehicle boot space for wheelchair or inappropriate seat height and depth which compromise transfer ability, will not necessarily be funded by DVA.

The age and condition of the vehicle will be taken into consideration to ensure the car suitable for modifications.

Health Provider Hotline

1800 550 457

Health Providers can contact DVA for any enquiries by calling the Provider Hotline: (Please press Option 1 when prompted for RAP).

 

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