Assessing Fitness to Drive

Table of Contents

1.3.1 Medical fitness for driver licensing

This publication is designed principally to guide and support assessments made by health professionals regarding fitness to drive for licensing purposes. It should be used by health professionals when:

  • Treating any patient who holds a driver licence whose condition may impact on their ability to drive safely. The majority of adults drive, thus a health professional should routinely consider the impact of a patient’s condition on their ability to drive safely. Awareness of a patient’s occupation or other driving requirements is also helpful.
  • Undertaking an examination at the request of a driver licensing authority or industry accreditation body. Health professionals may be requested to undertake a medical examination of a driver for a number of reasons. This may be:
    • for initial licensing of some vehicle classes (e.g. multiple combination heavy vehicles)
    • as a requirement for a conditional licence
    • for assessing a person whose driving the driver licensing authority believes may be unsafe (i.e. for cause examinations)
    • for licence renewal of an older driver (in certain states and territories)
    • for licensing or accreditation of certain commercial vehicle drivers (e.g. public passenger vehicle drivers)
    • as a requirement for Basic or Advanced Fatigue Management under the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (refer to <www.nhvr.gov.au>).

This publication focuses on long-term health and disability-related conditions and their associated functional effects that may impact on driving. It sets out clear minimum medical requirements for unconditional and conditional licences that form the medical basis of decisions made by the driver licensing authority. This publication also provides general guidance with respect to patient management for fitness to drive. It does not address general management of clinical conditions unless it relates to driving.

This publication outlines two sets of medical standards for driver licensing or authorisation: private vehicle driver standards and commercial vehicle driver standards.

The standards are intended for application to drivers who drive within the ambit of ordinary road laws. Drivers who are given special exemptions from these laws, such as emergency service vehicle drivers, should have a risk assessment and an appropriate level of medical standard applied by the employer. At a minimum, they should be assessed to the commercial vehicle standard.