In 2015, 12091 people were killed on Australian roads, and many tens of thousands hospitalised with serious injuries. The annual economic cost of road crashes in Australia is estimated to be $27 billion, which is accompanied by devastating social impacts.
While many factors contribute to safety on the road, driver health and fitness to drive is an important consideration. Drivers must meet certain medical standards to ensure their health status does not unduly increase their crash risk.
Assessing Fitness to Drive is a joint publication of Austroads and the National Transport Commission (NTC) and details medical standards for driver licensing purposes for use by health professionals and driver licensing authorities. The standards are approved by Commonwealth, state and territory transport ministers, and were first published in their current form in 2003. The last edition was published in 2012.
Since the last publication medical, legal and social developments have required that the medical criteria within the guidelines are updated to ensure they are accurate and reflect current practices. To this end, the NTC reviewed the guidelines, taking into account feedback from stakeholders, including medical professionals and expert consultants.
This review produced revised guidelines in draft form, for public consultation in October 2015. Doctors, other health professionals, members of the public, consumer groups, commercial operators and drivers, transport peak bodies, transport unions and governments submitted comments to the draft guidelines.
This edition of Assessing Fitness to Drive is the result of this extensive consultation process.
The Transport and Infrastructure Council approved this edition of the guidelines in June 2016. Medical organisations listed in the Endorsements have also endorsed these guidelines.
Austroads and the NTC acknowledge the significant contribution of health professionals to road safety. Health professionals in partnership with drivers, the road transport industry and governments play an essential role in keeping all road users safe. Together we are working towards further reducing, and eventually eliminating, deaths and injuries from vehicle crashes on Australian roads.
Peter Duncan AM
David Anderson PSM
Chairman, National Transport Commission
Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics. 2015. Road deaths Australia. Commonwealth of Australia. https://bitre.gov.au/publications/ongoing/rda/files/RDA_Dec_2015.pdf (accessed 28 Jan 2016)↩