For the safety of everyone on the road, it is important that all people operating a vehicle are considered fit to drive; a medical check-up can help to ensure this.
There have already been over 800 recorded road-related deaths in Australia in this year alone. Help reduce the rate of injury and death on the road by making sure you can safely operate a vehicle – and be sure to dodge kangaroos while you’re at it, too!
Between having good vision and quick reflexes, there are many skills needed to use a car, truck or motorbike safely.
You must notify your state’s roads authority if you have or acquire a severe or chronic disability or health condition which may impair your ability to operate a vehicle safely. If you do not do this your licence may be suspended and you may lose some of your insurance coverage.
When you may need a fit to drive medical assessment
There are several reasons why you might be required to obtain a fit to drive medical check-up, including:
You have a heavy vehicle licence
People who have heavy vehicle licences are required to have health check-ups between every 1-10 years depending on the age of the person.
You are aged 75+
Once you reach the age of 75 you will be required to have an annual fit to drive medical assessment, regardless of the type of licence you have.
It’s time for an eyesight test
Vision tests are generally required when you renew or apply for a new licence. If you are aged over 75 you will need to have one every year. Certain classes of licence may require a test every 5-10 years. You’ll also need to have a test done if you stop or start wearing glasses or contact lenses.
You have acquired a disability or health condition that may affect your ability
If you obtain a severe and/or chronic health condition or disability, you may need to have a fit to drive medical review done.
What the assessment involves
Generally if you require a health review you will need to visit your GP for a check-up. Your doctor will then create a report and/or, if needed, refer you to an occupational therapist. An occupational therapist will perform the assessment with you (it takes around 2-3 hours total). This consists of the following two parts:
The off-road testing section involves identifying what health conditions could affect your ability to use a vehicle safely (e.g. poor vision, or a broken or amputated limb).
Following the off-road fit to drive medical assessment, the occupational therapist along with an instructor will accompany you in a short trip in a dual-controlled car around your local area. In doing so they can assess how well you are able to do so safely.
Following this the occupational therapist will discuss the results with you and chat about whether there are any aids or modifications you can use to improve your ability to operate a vehicle safely. They will then create and send a report to your GP and/or the road authority.
If you don’t comply
If you refuse to adhere to your fit to drive medical assessment requirements, your licence may be suspended and/or cancelled. You can lodge an appeal against this within 28 days after being notified, but this will not stop your licence from being suspended or cancelled.
Being able to operate a vehicle is often an important part of day-to-day life. Health conditions and disabilities don’t necessarily have to get in the way.