RehabWire - Vol 4, No 3, June 2002.

RehabWire for June highlights research and resources for "getting around." Driving is considered by many to be a key to independence.

NIDRR Projects: Research in the New Millennium.

Missouri Model Traumatic Brain Injury System (MOMBIS) University of Missouri/Columbia(H133A980008) led by Brick Johnstone, PhD. Theresa San Agustin, MD, Project Officer.
Abstract: This model system, based in central Missouri, provides a continuum of TBI care to an underserved and understudied population: communities that are primarily rural. MOMBIS is also piloting research in the transportation challenges of individuals with TBI in rural areas and how those challenges affect outcomes, and the relationship between challenges in access to environmental resources and outcomes for individuals with TBI living in rural areas of Missouri.
Find out more at:

Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Rural Rehabilitation Services, University of Montana (H133B70017) led by Tom Seekins, PhD. Joyce Y. Caldwell, Project Officer.
Abstract: This RRTC conducts and disseminates research and provides training that improves the capacity of rural environments to support people with disabilities in living and working independently. Rural Employment and Economic Development Projects concentrate on employment and VR service needs, including self-employment as a vocational option for rural people with disabilities. These project components explore the role of rural economic development in meeting the needs of people with disabilities, and ways that rural citizens with disabilities can assume community leadership. Rural Community Development, Independent Living, and Telecommunications components look at how rural independent living services, transportation services, accessible housing, and telecommunications are funded, and ways to improve rural access to these services.
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The Use of Virtual Reality Technology for Assessment of Driving Skills Following Acquired Brain Injury, Kessler Medical Rehabilitation Research and Education Corporation (H133G000073) led by Maria T. Schultheis, PhD. William Peterson, Project Officer.
Abstract: This project develops a virtual reality driving system for the assessment of driving ability in persons with acquired brain injury, specifically TBI and stroke, and examines the device's efficacy and validity. The primary objectives are: (1) to evaluate the concurrent validity of a virtual reality driving protocol by comparing it to a traditional rehabilitation-hospital-based driving evaluation; (2) to examine the effects of the addition of complex and challenging driving factors, including nighttime and traffic congestion, on driving performance within a virtual reality environment; and (3) to elucidate the effects of demographic and medical factors that may impede or facilitate driving performance within a virtual reality environment.
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Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Wheelchair Transportation Safety, University of Pittsburgh (H133E010302) led by Gina E. Bertocci, PhD. William Peterson, Project Officer.
Abstract: This RERC improves the safety of wheelchair users who remain seated in their wheelchair while using public and private motor-vehicle transportation. RERC tasks investigate and develop new wheelchair tiedown and occupant restraint system technologies, including wheelchair-integrated restraints and universal docking concepts, that enable wheelchair users to secure and release their wheelchair independently and quickly, and use an effective occupant restraint system without the need for assistance. The RERC also researches the issues and factors involved in providing improved occupant protection to wheelchair-seated drivers and passengers in rear and side impacts, and uses a multifaceted approach, including in-depth investigations of real-world accidents, to investigate the incidence, severity, and causes of injuries to wheelchair-seated occupants in different sizes of vehicles and in different types of crashes, and non-impact incidents experienced during vehicle motion.
Find out more at


These pages list driver education or van/car conversion info:
On The Road Again

New Research: Selections from REHABDATA

Peters, B. (2001) Driving performance and workload assessment of drivers with tetraplegia: An adaptation evaluation framework. Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development, 38(2), 215-224. Rehabilitation Research and Development Service, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Accession Number: J42181.
Abstract: Study establishing a baseline for further research on how drivers with quadriplegia following spinal cord injury (SCI) perform using different adaptive devices. Driving performance and workload in a driving simulator were compared for 26 drivers with quadriplegia and a matched group of drivers without SCI. Observed differences in performance and workload could be interpreted as indicators of insufficient adaptation.

Lloyd, S., Cormack, C. N., Blais, K., Messeri, G., McCallum, M. A., Spicer, K., Morgan, S. (2001) Driving and dementia: A review of the literature. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 68(3), 149-156. Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists. Accession Number: J42398.
Abstract: Article reviewing the literature on the effects of normal aging and cognitive impairments on driving safety of older adults. The effects of specific deficits associated with dementia, specific assessment tools used to assess driving ability, and the role of physicians in driver assessment are discussed.

McGill, T., Vogtle, L. K. (2001) Driver's education for students with physical disabilities. Exceptional Children, 67(4), 455-466. Council for Exceptional Children (CEC). Accession Number: J42646.
Abstract: Study using qualitative methods to examine how students with physical disabilities perceive the process of learning to drive. Data are from interviews with 11 high school students with physical disabilities, of whom two had completed driver's education and nine had not. Results indicated that participants felt driving would add freedom, independence, and responsibility to their lives and increase their educational, employment, and recreational choices. Most participants stated they would prefer to be included in high school driver's education. Personal experiences revealed that enrollment in driver's education was either delayed or not presented as an option for participants.

Schultheis, M. T., Rizzo, A. A. (2001) The application of virtual reality technology in rehabilitation.Rehabilitation Psychology, 46(3), 296-311. Kessler Medical Rehabilitation Research and Educational Corporation. Accession Number: J42777.
Abstract: Article discussing potential applications of virtual reality (VR) technology in rehabilitation. The article defines VR, discusses benefits of VR technology in assessment and rehabilitation, and describes potential applications in specific areas, including assessment of cognitive abilities, rehabilitation intervention and training, vocational and social retraining, and client and family education. Two examples of current VR applications are presented: driving assessment after brain injury, and a virtual classroom scenario for assessment and rehabilitation of attention processes.

Mazer, B. L., Sofer, S., Korner-Bitensky, N., Gelinas, I. (2001) Use of the UFOV to evaluate and retrain visual attention skills in clients with stroke: A pilot study. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 55(5), 552-557. American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). Accession Number: J43007.
Abstract: A pilot study examining the use of the Useful Field of View (UFOV) to assess and retrain three aspects of visual attention (processing speed, divided attention, and selective attention) in 52 clients with stroke referred to a driving evaluation service. Results indicated that although UFOV scores indicated poor attention skills in clients with stroke, the UFOV scores improve with training.

Rodin's Thinker on a car

(2001) Automotive. New Mobility, 12(94), 60- 64. No Limits Communications Inc. Accession Number: J43135.
Abstract: Listing of suppliers of automotive products for wheelchair users. Suppliers are listed by product category: accessories, conversions, hand controls, lifts and carriers, automotive ramps, rebate programs, rentals, trailers and recreational vehicles, and vans.

(2000) Spinal cord injury update. Northwest Regional Spinal Cord Injury System, University of Washington School of Medicine, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine. Accession Number: O12439.
Abstract: Newsletter of the Northwest Regional Spinal Cord Injury System (NWRSCIS), a model SCI care system sponsored by NIDRR. Each issue includes news of the NWRSCIS and a review of recent SCI research literature. Other topics covered in issues in the NARIC collection: Summer 2000 (V9, N1): Current and future issues in acute SCI management; bladder management; driving and SCI.