Frank still remembers the sound of the car’s brakes screeching, too late. The rest is a blur.
A distracted driver ran a red light and plowed into him as he crossed the walkway that night. The crash left him broken in several places but he didn’t know that. Frank lost consciousness. He stopped breathing.
Frank spent two weeks in a coma. It was very serious but Frank pulled through.
Now Frank’s slowly recovering. There are daily trials as he struggles with new physical and mental limitations. With frequent rehab visits and more at-home parenting duties, one thing Frank realizes is that driving again would be helpful.
There are challenges to that with his new boundaries. The act of driving that many take for granted is not as easy for Frank.
You can help the hospital’s Kinetik Rehabilitation unit prepare and assess disabled drivers through the purchase of a new driver simulator, needed for Kinetik’s driver evaluation program (DEP).
The DEP provides standardized assessment to determine people’s abilities to operate motor vehicles safely. The program benefits those with cognitive, perceptual, physical, or medical limitations that affect driving ability. It’s also useful for individuals who’ve never driven but have significant disabilities that may require special adaptations.
After 20 years, manager Dan Myers says the DEP needs an update. “When the program was established in 1996, the region purchased a driver simulator. The simulator helped provide objective information in skills and practice considered critical for safe driving. It tested reaction time while allowing patients to practice being on the road in an actual vehicle.”
Myers reports the original simulator was maintained until 2007 but after that, “its components were no longer usable for the assessment process and parts no longer available. Since then, we’ve been attempting to purchase a new simulator but cost has been a detriment.”
“We believe the new simulator is ideal because we can measure in real time such factors as legality, safety and courtesy,” says driving instructor Natasha Meger. “It measures ability to control a vehicle, anticipate and manage risk, and records driver performance in many ways. It teaches basic skills such as lane keeping and turning, or higher skills such as hazard perception and collision avoidance.”
Meger says the new simulator provides immediate feedback to the client (e.g. they feel the fast movement when the brakes are pressed), when completing customized assessments, matching scenarios to a driver’s specific needs. “This is crucial, given that Saskatchewan has many options for restricted driving that need to be factored in to the assessment process.”
Meger has tested the simulator herself and reached out to other users who offered their assessment. “I’m confident this is the best option for our program. The simulator is simply a better, safer option for testing drivers.”
To donate, visit the Foundation office, call 306-655-8489 (toll free 1-800-603-4464), or go to SCHFdonate.com.