The Board of Occupational Therapy is pleased to be a participant in the Older Californian Traffic Safety Task Force. This Task Force was convened in 2000 to develop a strategic framework of state-level recommendations to prevent traffic-related injuries/deaths among older Californians. The California Highway Patrol is spearheading this initiative and is responsible for coordinating its implementation. Participants of the Task Force include recognized experts from the enforcement; state governmental agencies addressing older adults; key statewide advocacy and service provider groups for older adults; and private sector stakeholders.

Where does occupational therapy fit into the scheme of things?

The primary charge of the Task Force is to develop recommendations that would provide direction on how to improve traffic safety for California's seniors. One such recommendation was to improve the ability of health care and service providers to assess traffic safety risk and minimize the impact of health impairments on safe mobility. Occupational therapists are in a unique position to identify, minimize, or correct impairments that may interfere with safety in a traffic environment. Occupational therapy will provide opportunities for emerging impairments to be detected and for appropriate referrals, rehabilitation and corrective steps to occur.

The Task Force meets approximately every six weeks and is expected to be operational for at least two years. Once the Task Force's final report is released, the Board will be able to assess its role in educating practitioners of the responsibilities they may be assigned.

Directory of Driver Rehabilitation Programs. To determine the number of occupational therapists that are involved in driver rehabilitation, the Board continues to ask those therapists to complete a survey, from which a California-based Driver Assessment and Rehabilitation Directory will be developed for consumers to access. If you or your work facility currently provides this service, please take a few minutes to complete the survey pertaining to this very important issue.

Training/Education. The Board will additionally be posting training and education courses currently being offered concerning driving assessment and rehabilitation. For a listing, please visit the training/education link.

This critical issue will effect us all at some time in our lives. The Board encourages occupational therapists to address this critical issue by taking advantage of this unique opportunity to further your skills and abilities in this specialized discipline.