Vehicle Technology for Drivers with Disabilities

Vehicle Technology for Drivers with Disabilities

Adaptive Mobility’s Model Y Tesla

One of the cool things about technology is how it can be used to make everyday tasks easier. With technology, we can press a button to open a door, enter a room and have a sensor turn on a light, and speak to any voice service (like Alexa) to order anything we want off of the internet. It’s fun to see how technology is being integrated more and more into vehicles to support safe driving. Let’s take a look at some new vehicle technology and how it may be used to support a range of abilities.


Remote Temperature Control

While the technology for turning on your vehicle from the comfort of your home has been around for a while, I absolutely love being able to do this type of activity from an app on my smartphone. The app allows me not only to warm up or cool down my vehicle down at a specific time but allows me to adjust the internal temperature without going into the car to fiddle with settings.

As someone who lives in an area with a range of temperatures, it’s lovely to be able to warm up my vehicle in the morning and use the cooling settings by the middle of the day. Setting the temperature can be a huge advantage for a range of individuals. From the driver transferring from a wheelchair (that can build a lot of heat, especially on a warm day) to the parent juggling small children, being able to avoid extreme heat or cold is ideal.


Remote Summoning

I love that I can summon my Tesla in an out of a parking spot and even over to the curb! While this technology is very limited in its availability, I love that I can use an app on my smartphone to drive the Tesla to me. This is ideal when you get parked in. You can move the vehicle back to allow more space for you to enter and exit. Anyone with a vehicle ramp can tell you how frustrating it is when someone parks you in or when the disabled space doesn’t leave you enough room to open the ramp fully. Being able to move the vehicle out of the spot or even over to you at the storefront is a dream! This type of vehicle technology will be huge for drivers with disabilities.


Back-up Camera

I love a good backup camera. It increases visibility and helps me to make sure there are no little humans or creatures or obstacles moving behind me. In addition, it is great for anyone with limited neck motion. While the beeping or additional visual may be a distraction to some, for others having this technology really increases safety. I’m excited to see this technology continue to improve to include 360 views and integrate rear-collision avoidance options. In my 2020 Subaru, if someone steps behind my vehicle, while I am reversing, the car will actually stop itself. I love having this peace of mind.


Adaptive Cruise Control

While most cars don’t have autonomous driving yet, many do have adaptive cruise control. With adaptive cruise control, the driver sets the speed and can set the distance maintained between the car in front. In other words, the system keeps you from getting too close to the car in front of you. Even if that car slows down! This helps the driver to maintain a set space cushion and is wonderful in highway traffic. I love this feature! This vehicle technology is easily great for the driver with a disability who is driving with hand controls.


While we have only reviewed 4, there are many other vehicle technologies that will support drivers with disabilities. To learn more about:

  • Smart Headlights
  • Emergency Response Systems
  • Blind Spot Warnings Systems
  • Lane Departure Warning Systems
  • Vehicle Stability Control (VSC)
  • Assistive Parking Systems
  • Voice-activated Systems
  • Crash Mitigation Systems
  • Drowsy Driver alert
  • And specific perks of Tesla

check out the resources below.

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Additional Resources


Are you an occupational therapy practitioner ready to advance your career by becoming an OT driver rehab specialist?

The following dates are our upcoming, in-person training opportunities. 

  • March 13-15, 2023
  • June 21-23, 2023

CLICK HERE for more information about our in-person training

Before you sign up for this in-person training, you must complete Part 1: Building Blocks — Driving Risk Assessment.

CLICK HERE for more information about our Part 1 Course


Interested in bundling Part 1 & Part 2?
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Susie Touchinsky

Susie Touchinsky, OTR/L, SCDCM, CDRS is an occupational therapist and certified driver rehabilitation specialist offering decades of experience, knowledge, and professional support for drivers, families, caregivers, and practitioners.