Author/s: Patricia McKenna
Publication year: 2009
Age Range: Adult
Administration: Individual – 30 to 40 minutes
A battery of simple neuropsychological tests designed to assess basic cognitive functions essential for safe driving
The Rookwood Driving Battery consists of a battery of simple neuropsychological tests designed to assess basic cognitive functions essential for safe driving.
- The domains of functioning assessed include visual perception, praxis skills, and executive function. Each of the skills tested relate to the ability to move a car in space and act appropriately in on-road traffic.
- Performance on the battery gives a good indication of an individual’s cognitive fitness to drive and help decide whether an on-road test is appropriate.
- The test is for use with clients with any neurological condition which affects brain functioning (e.g. stroke, acquired brain injury, dementia etc).
- The battery takes 30-40 minutes to administer. Each of the tests is simple and performance is not dependent on IQ. They also do not require fine manual dexterity so can be carried out easily by people who are physically frail or disabled.
- The battery has sound normative data from healthy drivers and older adults and has been validated against on-road performance at the South Wales Driving Assessment Centre in Rookwood Hospital.
- The test is designed to be used by therapists involved in driving assessment or those working in older adult and neurology services where they may be called upon to give an opinion of driving skill.
The following is a case study using Rookwood Driving Battery, by Maxine Bell, Occupational Therapist at Portland College, UK.
Portland College is a residential college for young people aged 16-25 with physical disabilities and associated learning disabilities. Our students are either ambulant, use powered wheelchairs or manual wheelchairs and have shown an interest in learning to drive to increase their independence. We use the Rookwood Driving Battery (RDB) either within our OT office or a meeting room.
We decided to buy the assessment after a meeting with our local mobility centre, who heard about the assessment; after researching the RDB we decided it was suitable for our students. At Portland, we are well aware of what adaptive vehicles a student can use, so we are more concerned about the cognitive abilities of our students when they express an interest in driving.
This assessment always makes a difference to how we work with our students. When a student highlights the desire to drive a car, we use the RBD alongside the Rivermead Behavioural Memory Test (RBMT) and the Motor Free Visual Perceptual Test (MVPT-3) to inform us of potential deficits in a particular cognitive domain that may impact on their ability to drive a vehicle. Depending on the outcomes of the assessment and intervention, the student will apply for a provisional driving licence. We then put them in touch with suitable driving schools that have access to adapted vehicles.
If a standardised assessment illustrates multiple deficits that may impact driving, our students usually accept this and do not pursue driving – it assists with demonstrating potential issues. Conversely, if the assessment shows minor deficits, it provides a focus for intervention.
I found that the different types of assessments in the RDB make it a varied experience for the students, i.e. it’s not just flip books, but listening to the CD, then writing and drawing, as well as the water experiment.
Overall, we rate the RDB as being ‘very good’ for for reliability, usability and for it’s content, its cost-effectiveness is ‘excellent’. I have recommended this assessment in the past to fellow OTs at other colleges.
Published: June 2012
includes manual, stimulus book, 3 stimulus cards, scoring key, story CD, 25 record forms and set of manipulatives