Scooters as a safe alternative for cars?
Motorised mobility devices are increasing in popularity. Some product advertising has purposefully linked the purchase of such devices with the loss of driver's licence. Currently there are few systems either under fitness to drive or pedestrian safety guidelines to inform assessment of the capacity or the safety of the user. Occupational Therapy driver assessors are called upon to make recommendations regarding safety, often when a third party is involved in the loan of such equipment, to ensure the legal liability of the loan agency has been covered. However, little can prevent a person from privately purchasing a piece of equipment despite recommendations to the contrary. In addition, there are no formal mechanisms to check the ongoing safety of users who have purchased equipment when appropriate who then go on to develop cognitive or visual dysfunction. This paper will use a recent actual clinical case study involving referral, assessment, intervention and evaluation, to highlight issues. The issues include: gaps in information required, differing training of health personnel, constraints to training, poor road design, risks to users and the community, lack of monitoring systems and potential legal liabilities. This paper offers those who are not involved in the area of mobility rehabilitation an opportunity to glimpse the complex array of emerging issues involved in the safe prescription and ongoing utilisation of what seems a superficially straightforward piece of mobility equipment. The discussion contributes to the ongoing debate regarding the systems issues in regard to motorised mobility devices. There are ranges of medico-legal and safety questions that require further research.