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How to Obtain a Driving Assessment

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A driving assessment by a trained professional can determine whether someone has the skills and abilities to drive safely.  Options for formal testing include clinical driving assessments, driving skills evaluations, and professional assessments.  Those with a dementia diagnosis in the early stage may not need to stop driving immediately.  A driving evaluation may be recommended by a medical doctor as a tool to monitor continued driving safety.  It can also help with planning other ways to travel in the future.  Program formats vary, and all have an out-of-pocket cost.  Here are some options:

Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles

RMV (Medical Affairs Bureau, (857) 368-8020): Exam includes a 30-minute road test conducted by an RMV employee (no medical background).  The cost is $35.  If a person performs “marginally,” they may retake the road test.  If a clear failure is noted, the driver will be asked to surrender their license.

Hospital-Based Clinics (Clinical Driving Assessments)

These clinics are housed in rehab departments with oversight by Occupational Therapy (OT).  Patients who pass in-office exams are sent for a road test with a driving instructor.  Some programs use certified driving instructors with expertise in assessing people with impairments.  Medicare does not cover these programs.

    • Newton-Wellesley Hospital (Newton, (617) 243-6172): Two-hour clinical assessment with OT to assess memory, reaction time, vision, etc.  The cost is $225.  At the end of the visit, OT will make a recommendation (either further assessment or no further assessment).  If the patient does well, they are referred for an on-road exam with a certified driving instructor who goes to the person’s home for an additional fee of $300 with an additional travel fee ($100/hour).  Wait time for an appointment may be four months or longer.  An order from a medical doctor is required.
    • Spaulding Rehab (Boston, (617) 952-6200, Braintree, (617) 952-6100, and Cape Cod, (508) 833-4000): Two-hour in-house evaluation by OT for $230.  A road test is then conducted by a certified driving instructor for an additional $375.  Wait time for an appointment may be four months or longer.  An order from a medical doctor is required.
    • Baystate Health (Springfield, (413) 794-5600): Driving evaluations are conducted once a month.  The first part of exam is clinical.  People are then put on a driving simulator.  If there are concerns, they are sent to a driving school.  The exam costs $450.
    • Emerson Hospital (Concord, (978) 287-8244): Emerson’s Keys to Independence Driving Evaluation Program entails in-clinic physical, visual, and cognitive assessment of fitness to drive completed by an OT.  A referral from a doctor is required.  The evaluation costs $350 and will result in one of two outcomes:
      1. Failure – either more therapy or not returning to driving is recommended.
      2. Passing – the patient may proceed to an on-road evaluation approximately one week later for an additional $399.

Programs Overseen by Certified Driving Instructors

There are only two in the state – both located in central Massachusetts.  Both programs are out-of-pocket expenses.

    • Next Street Driver Rehab (Oxford, (508) 499-8230): Certified driving instructors and OTs begin the evaluation with a clinical assessment ($349/two hours).  If the driver is considered safe, they are sent for a road test for an additional $349.  A referral from a doctor is required.  If person lives too far away, there will be an additional travel charge.  Wait time for an appointment may be six months or longer.
    • Central Mass Safety Council (West Boylston, (774) 450-1009): This program is similar in design and cost structure to Next Street.

Self-Led Driving Program

AAA’s RoadWise™ is a senior defensive-driving program designed to “positively affect driving behavior and help a person learn about and adjust to age-related physical changes.”  AAA’s driver-improvement courses may be offered in a classroom, online, or both.  Learn more about the program through the website or calling your local AAA branch.

Learn More

Medical standards for passenger (Class D) and motorcycle (Class M) driver’s licenses |
RMV Your Health and Driving Safely in Massachusetts (
Dementia & Driving | Alzheimer’s Association