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Driving With SCI

white and presumably paraplegic man about be driving with sci
white and presumably paraplegic man about be driving with sci

1. Driving With SCI: How Do Paralyzed People Drive?

Often caused by car crashes and slip-and-falls per the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI) are life-altering and could significantly affect every aspect of the lives of those affected. 

People who suffer from spinal transection and/or contusion have needs that may differ from each other. For one, the mobility of individuals with SCI varies from one another. One may be able to move their hands, while others may have significant difficulties doing so. This is because of multiple factors, including but not limited to:

  1. The severity of the injury
  2. Where the injury site is located in the spine
  3. The impact of the accident
  4. Any recurring illnesses
  5. Many more!

Because SCI patients generally have some limitations in their mobility, one of the questions they may ask is whether they’d be able to drive again. A lot of them may think it is unlikely or maybe even impossible. But contrary to what they may expect, assistive devices and car modifications are available to make driving possible for them. 

In this blog, we will discuss different aspects of driving with spinal cord injury. In particular, we will cover  the impact of spine injuries on driving, adaptive driving technologies, as well as specialized driver’s education for people living with SCI. 

2. How Spine Injuries Affect Driving

If a spine is cut (spinal transection) or bruised (spinal contusion), it will inevitably affect a person’s mobility. And depending on how bad the injury is, there is a definite possibility that it could bar them from driving. 

This is because the spinal cord is the organ connecting the mind to the rest of the body, serving as the messenger for the signals transmitted by the brain. If the spine is severed or damaged in any way, it’s not going to carry out its function, thus affecting a person’s ability to move or even feel things. 

This affects a person’s driving abilities. A lot of people with SCI, for example, are unable to move their legs. Not to mention, manufacturers of your run-of-the-mill automobiles aren’t cognizant of the needs of disabled folks. On top of that, disabled folks have unique needs that manufacturers may not be able to address. 

Fortunately, people with SCI may still be able to drive. With proper treatment (physical and mental) coupled by adaptive driving technology, SCI patients could work towards gaining a sense of independence on the road!

3. Driving With SCI (Spinal Cord Injury) Using Adaptive Driving Technology

There are multiple car modifications people with SCI can ask for so that they can safely drive behind the wheel. They have different needs, so they would need to make alterations in their car that best suits them. 

This is highlighted by Aaron Baker —SCI activist and athlete — and his friends. In a Shield HealthCare video, Aaron walks the viewers through how several of his friends (who are also afflicted with a spine injury) are able to drive. 

One thing that stands out in the video is the way his friends altered their cars to accommodate their injury, further highlighting the different needs each individual with SCI may have. In the video, his friends use hand controls to stop, steer, and start their cars in ways unique to them. 

But what’s arguably more compelling about the video is the way his friends frequently credited driving for revitalizing their sense of independence, one that may have been lost after the accident. 

“Who would’ve thought [I’d go from] not being able to move from the neck down to being able to drive a Corvette?” Aaron’s friend, Steve said. “It’s not just the car. It’s fitting in, feeling like there’s nothing wrong.”  

4. Training And Education For Drivers With SCI

A University of Michigan study suggests that people with spinal cord injury are more likely to develop mental health issues compared to those without SCI. While it is an adjustment to learn how to drive with SCI, the improvement in the quality of life of SCI drivers shows that driving may alleviate some of the depression they may feel as a result of their injury. 

If you and/or a person you love are affected by a Spinal Cord Injury and are itching to drive, it’s best to look into getting some specialized driver’s education with a driver who is credentialed through the Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists (ADED)

The ADED is an organization consisting of driving educators who work with people with specialized needs, especially those with diminishing driving abilities. It’s important to be trained under them because reorienting oneself with driving, let alone with a whole new set of tools may prove to be a difficult endeavor. With the help of an ADED-certified driving instructor, SCI drivers will be able to learn the proper skills necessary to get behind the wheel safely.

To learn more about ADED and to find a credentialed driver’s instructor specializing in helping those with spinal cord injuries, visit their website.

5. Call Omega Law Group

Omega Law Group’s highly qualified team of spinal cord injury experts are recognized by their peers in the industry as well as industry-vetted organizations like SuperLawyers. They were featured in well-renowned publications like the Los Angeles Times and the Los Angeles Business Journal, the latter of which covered their technology-forward approach in the discovery process to further help their clients get the justice they deserve.

At Omega, the clients are placed at the utmost priority. They accrued over millions of dollars in compensation over the years and will fight relentlessly for their clients.

The elite team of spinal cord injury experts has a track record of success. This is in part due to the team’s extreme attention to detail as well as their transparency and effective communication. 

They believe that Omega Law Group’s personalized client service should be made available to everyone who needs their help, regardless of their financial capabilities. To bridge this gap, they operate on a contingency fee so that they don’t have to pay for any legal fees upfront. Schedule a free consultation now to learn more.