Table of Contents

6 Functional and practical assessment

A functional assessment and/or practical driver assessment may be required in addition to a clinical examination in order to provide appropriate information regarding a person’s fitness to drive. The assessment may also identify requirements for vehicle adaptation or personal restrictions (refer to Table 6 for examples).

Processes for initiating and conducting driver assessments vary between the states and territories. Practical assessments may be conducted by occupational therapists or others approved by the particular driver licensing authority (refer to Part A section 2.3.1 Practical driver assessments).The assessments may be initiated by the examining health professional or by the driver licensing authority. Recommendations following assessment may relate to: licence status; the need for rehabilitation or retraining; licence conditions such as vehicle modification or personal restrictions; and requirements for reassessment. Information about the options for practical driver assessment in the relevant state or territory can be obtained by contacting the local driver licensing authority (Appendix 9: Driver licensing authority contacts). For information about occupational therapists qualified in driver assessment, contact Occupational Therapy Australia (refer to Appendix 10: Specialist driver assessors).

In the case of a driver seeking a conditional commercial vehicle licence, the person will have to initially demonstrate proficiency in driving a light vehicle (car) prior to being assessed in a commercial vehicle. For the commercial vehicle licence, an on-road driver assessment will need to be undertaken in the commercial vehicle and with modifications if required. This assessment should be conducted as required by the driver licensing authority.

Motorcyclists with a musculoskeletal disability will require a practical driver assessment (refer to Part A section 2.3.1 Practical driver assessments).

Table 6: Examples of vehicle modifications and personal restrictions relevant to musculoskeletal disorders*

Example of disability/situationExamples of licence conditions
(Vehicle modification or personal restrictions)
Left leg disability, left arm disabilityAutomatic transmission
Short statureBuilt-up seat and pedals
Loss of leg functionHand-operated controls
Loss of right leg functionLeft foot accelerator
Reduced lower limb strengthPower brakes only
Reduced upper limb strengthPower steering only
Short leg/sExtended pedals
Loss of limb function/limb deficientProsthesis required

*These are not mandatory requirements and may be unsuitable in some circumstances.