OTD Capstone Projects


Objective: To explore the diagnostic validity of clinical assessments for sensation in determining fitness-to-drive recommendations in active drivers with sensory deficits.

Methods: Retrospective chart review was conducted using a purposive sampling approach of patients’ medical records from the Vanderbilt Driver Evaluation and Rehabilitation Program in Nashville, Tennessee. Medical records for patients assessed from 12/01/2017 through 12/31/2019, ages 18 or older, with lower extremity sensory deficit(s) identified in the referring and/or treatment diagnoses, medical history, and/or the occupational therapy evaluation problem list were eligible for review. A total of 288 patient medical records were reviewed, but only 40 patient medical records were included as participants due to sensory deficit(s) identified within the right lower extremity. Clinical data, on-road performance, and recommendations for fitness-to-drive were collected on data abstraction forms. Variables were chosen based on literature and their suggested correlation with driving and analyzed via descriptive statistics.

Results: Data showed a statistically significant difference among the groups in the number of physical intervention required to maintain roadway safety. There was also a statistically significant difference between the groups in the type and number of pedal errors noted during the road assessment. Additional significant trends in the data were between the driving-recommended group as they were younger and between the training-recommended group as they tended to have slower values for pedal reaction time tests.

Conclusion: Findings of this study suggests that road assessments are significant measures for evaluating sensation in determining fitness-to-drive recommendations in active drivers with sensory deficits; however, there is a need for more research within this area, particularly with an increased sample. The fitness-to-drive recommendations should be highly specific to each individual case and their on-road driving performance. Furthermore, findings of this study are indicative of low sensitivity with current clinical assessment used within practice to detect foot sensation.

Publication Date

Spring 4-16-2020

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Elena Espiritu


Occupational Therapy, School of


Health Sciences & Nursing, Gordon E. Inman College of

Document Type

Scholarly Project


Doctorate of Occupational Therapy (OTD)

Degree Level


Degree Grantor

Belmont University


adult; sensation; driving; safety; occupational therapist; assessment; sensory deficits; reaction time; pedal errors