2.3.4 Information and assistance for drivers
Assessment by a health professional is one piece of information taken into account by the driver licensing authority in making a decision about the future licensing status of a patient. The driver licensing authority may cancel, refuse or suspend a driver licence or place conditions on a licence. Because most people consider a driver licence critical to continued independence, employment and recreation, the risk of it being withdrawn can evoke strong emotions and reactions. Patients may become upset, anxious, frustrated or angry; especially if their livelihood or lifestyle is threatened (refer to section 3.3.2 Patient–health professional relationship).
In cases where licensing decisions may impact on a patient’s ability to earn a living, it is necessary that the health professional demonstrates some sensitivity in the interests of ongoing patient health. Timely provision of medical reports is important in this regard. Offering some direction in developing coping strategies may help alleviate some of the patient’s concerns or fears. Where appropriate, the health professional should consider direct referral rather than simply providing sources for further information, for example:
- Vocational assessors will assess a person’s ability to rehabilitate, retrain and reskill for another industry, or a new sector within the industry.
- There may be government-funded assistance programs to support work-based assessments and workplace modifications including vehicle modifications.
- Condition-specific support and advocacy agencies may also offer advice, support and services, for example, Diabetes Australia, Alzheimer’s Australia, the MS Society and epilepsy organisations.
For older drivers, early advice will help them plan for the inevitable changes in their independence. There are also specific information resources available for drivers with dementia and their carers (refer to resources below).
Driver information resources
Alzheimer’s Australia has a number of useful resources to support patients and carers with respect to their driving. These include two useful fact sheets:
- Information for people with dementia – Driving https://fightdementia.org.au/sites/default/files/helpsheets/Helpsheet- InformationForPeopleWithDementia04-DrivingAndDementia_english.pdf
- Caring for someone with dementia – Driving https://fightdementia.org.au/sites/default/files/helpsheets/Helpsheet- CaringForSomeone07-Driving_english.pdf
- Dementia and driving – Guide for families and carers https://vic.fightdementia.org.au/sites/default/files/VIC/documents/Dementia-and- Driving-guide-for-family-carers.pdf
State-and territory-based resources
Australian Capital Territory
- Seniors Moving Safely www.seniorsmovingsafely.org.au
New South Wales
- Roads and Maritime Services – Older drivers http://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/roads/licence/older-drivers/index.html
- NRMA older drivers http://www.mynrma.com.au/motoring-services/education/older-drivers.htm
- Northern Territory Department of Transport https://nt.gov.au/driving/licences
- Medical certificates for older drivers http://www.qld.gov.au/seniors/transport/safe-driving/
- Royal Automobile Club of Queensland (RACQ) – Older Drivers www.racq.com.au/motoring/roads/road_safety/older_road_users
- South Australian Seniors Transport http://www.sa.gov.au/topics/seniors/transport
- Tasmanian Older Drivers website http://www.transport.tas.gov.au/licensing/information/older_drivers
- TAC – older drivers http://www.tac.vic.gov.au/road-safety/safe-driving/older-drivers
- VicRoads – older drivers https://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/safety-and-road-rules/driver-safety/older-drivers
- VicRoads – dementia https://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/licences/medical-conditions-and-driving/medical-conditions/dementia
- How safe is your car? – older drivers www.howsafeisyourcar.com.au/Driving-Safely/Older-Drivers/
- Senior driver licence renewals http://www.transport.wa.gov.au/licensing/renew-my-drivers-licence-seniors-85-plus.asp
- Druglnfo Clearinghouse – safer driving: http://www.druginfo.adf.org.au/information-for/information-for-older-drivers