Assessing Fitness to Drive

Table of Contents

4.1 Medical standards for private and commercial vehicle drivers

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

The choice of which standards to apply when examining a patient for fitness to drive is guided by both the type of vehicle (e.g. heavy vehicle) and the purpose for which the driver is authorised to drive (e.g. carrying passengers or dangerous goods). Generally, the commercial vehicle driver medical standards apply to drivers of heavy vehicles, public passenger vehicles or vehicles carrying dangerous goods. A dangerous goods driver licence is required for transport of dangerous goods in an individual receptacle with a capacity greater than 500 litres or net mass greater than 500 kilograms. The commercial vehicle driver standards are more stringent than the private standards and reflect the increased risk associated with motor vehicle crashes involving such vehicles (refer to section 4.2 Considerations for commercial vehicle licensing).

The private standards should be applied to:

  • drivers applying for or holding a licence class C (car), R (motorcycle) or LR (light rigid) unless the driver is also applying for an authority to or is already authorised to use the vehicle for carrying public passengers for hire or reward or for carrying dangerous goods, or, in some jurisdictions, for a driving instructor.

The commercial standards should be applied to:

  • drivers of ‘heavy vehicles’ – those holding or applying for a licence of class MR (medium rigid), HR (heavy rigid), HC (heavy combination) or MC (multiple combination)
  • drivers carrying public passengers for hire or reward (bus drivers, taxi drivers, chauffeurs, drivers of hire cars and small buses, etc.)
  • drivers carrying dangerous goods
  • drivers subject to requirements for Basic or Advanced Fatigue Management under the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme
  • other driver categories who may also be subject to the commercial vehicle standards as a result of certification requirements of the authorising body or as required by specific industry standards, for example, driving instructors and members of TruckSafe.