Questions & Answers on Bioptic Driver’s Training



Why do I need driver’s training?

Answer: Driving is the most complex task we undertake every day.  It is an ever changing environment that demands our attention the entire time we are behind the wheel. Regardless of whether you are an experienced driver or just a beginner, bioptic telescopes require mastery of   skills unique to bioptic driving. These skills must be learned and practiced in a variety of driving environments to maximize driving safety and ultimate driving independence.


What is a driving rehabilitation specialist?

Answer: What is a driving rehabilitation specialist?  A driver rehabilitation specialist is an individual from a traffic safety/education, or therapy background that has completed education and continuing education in the field of driver rehabilitation.  They are certified by the Association of Driver Rehabilitation Specialists (ADED), and are required to maintain certification.


What types of training will I do?

Answer: Typically falls into two categories:

  1. Passenger spotting/scanning training-this occurs as the CDRS drives the training vehicle while you practice gaining proficiency using the telescope while riding as a passenger.
  2. Driver spotting/scanning training- this is the portion of the training where you are driving while performing the activities mastered as a passenger.

Most programs involve varying degrees of both types of training to promote development of confidence and advanced skill.


What if I have never been licensed?

Answer: This should not worry you. Yes, it is true that previously licensed drivers already know how to maneuver an automobile, you too will learn this with the proper training and time. Both new and experienced drivers need to learn to use the bioptic telescopic system to achieve the same goal.


Will I need to take a written test?

Answer: Yes. All drivers who apply for entry into the Indiana Bioptic Driving Program are required to take and pass a 50 question (road signs included) multiple choice written examination to demonstrate an understanding of the role and responsibilities of drivers in our state.


What type of car will I drive?

Answer: The type of automobile may vary between programs but typically you will drive some type of mid-sized sedan.


Do your cars have additional safety features?

Answer: Yes, the training vehicle should be equipped with a passenger-side training brake. It may also be equipped with a variety of specialty mirrors.


Why do I need a bioptic driving permit?

Answer: A permit for training purposes only is issued to bioptic candidates to ensure that driving occurs only while in the presence and under the supervision of a CDRS credentialed by the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles. This provision is to ensure personal and community safety while you are completing your training.


How do I get a bioptic driving permit?

Answer: You must be evaluated by a low vision optometrist for appropriateness to become a Bioptic Driver. Once your optometric training is completed you are released to participate in a Bioptic Driving Evaluation. After your evaluation is completed an application is submitted on your behalf to the Indiana BMV Bioptic Driving Program. If accepted you will take and pass a written test at your local BMV and your bioptic driving permit is issued.


Can I drive with the bioptic permit with other licensed drivers?

Answer: No. Due to the highly specialized needs of visually impaired drivers and the complex skill development required you will only be permitted to drive with your CDRS.


Will I have the same driving rehabilitation specialists throughout my training?

Answer: You should expect to complete all drivers training with the same specialist. Continuity is very important to progress and success.


Where will I drive during training?

Answer: The driving environment will most likely vary widely and should be structured to meet your individualized needs given your driving goals and expectations.


Can I have the training from any local driver’s training school?

Answer: No, typically your local driving school will not have a CDRS on staff who is credentialed in working specifically with bioptic driving candidates.


If my son’s school provides driver’s training, will that be adequate?

Answer: No!  The needs of the visually impaired driver exceed the level of knowledge and expertise of a driver education teacher in a school-based driving program. His school program can give him a basic understanding of the rules of the road and traffic safety laws but the behind-the-wheel training must be down with a program certified to provide bioptic training.



Should I complete the classroom driver’s training at my school?

Answer: If the school offers driver education it can be beneficial to take the classroom portion for a solid base understanding of rules-of-the-road in preparation for passing the written exam.


Will I have to travel far to each training section?

Answer: Each program is structured differently. Some programs require you to come to their facility for training while others provide community-based training specific to where you live.


How long will it take to complete the training?

Answer: This may vary widely dependent upon many factors so you should contact individual programs for comparison.


How many hours will be required?

Answer: Indiana BMV mandates 30 hours of instruction, however more time may be needed in some cases. It can be divided in any way that meets your scheduling needs.


How many hours will I get at each session?

Answer: the length of each training session depends upon your visual endurance and the goals set forth by you and your CDRS. Often 1½ to 2 hours is not unusual.


How much does training cost?

Answer: Costs vary from program to program due to variability in travel distance and other factors. Consult individual programs for costs.


Will my insurance cover the training?

Answer: Typically only Workman’s Compensation Insurance pays for any kind of driver training.


Are there any other sources to cover driver’s training costs?

Answer: If you are working or desire to work Vocational Rehabilitation Services (State & Federal funded program) may provide assistance with evaluation and training.


Will I be tested for night driving?

Answer: Night driving must first be an option given your specific vision impairment, this is determined by your Low Vision Optometrist. If ordered, a night drive evaluation will be conducted by your CDRS during training before you complete your drive test with the BMV for licensure.


Will you teach me to drive with GPS?

Answer: First, and evaluation for assistive technology such as GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) should occur to determine if you are a good candidate. If determined so, then you should receive the necessary training to master use of such equipment.


Will I have to take a behind-the-wheel test with the BMV?

Answer: Yes. All candidates are required to pass a road skills test with a BMV Senior Examiner.


What if I fail the BMV test can?

Answer: You may be allowed to attempt the behind-the-wheel test a second time but you must wait a minimum of 14 days between testing dates and continue training with your CDRS in preparation.