Assessing Fitness to Drive

Table of Contents

3. Roles and responsibilities

Roles and responsibilities of those involved in fitness to drive assessment and decision making are summarised in Table 2 and discussed in this section. Legislation relating to driver and health professional responsibilities is also summarised in Appendix 3: Legislation relating to reporting.

Figure 2 summarises the relationships and interactions between the driver licensing authority, health professional and vehicle driver.

The responsibility for issuing, renewing, suspending, refusing or cancelling, or reinstating a person’s driver licence (including a conditional licence) lies ultimately with the driver licensing authority. Licensing decisions are based on a full consideration of relevant factors relating to the driver’s health and driving performance record.

Table 2: Key roles and responsibilities with respect to fitness to drive

DriverHealth professionalDriver licensing authority
  • To report to the driver licensing authority any long-term or permanent injury or illness that may affect their ability to drive safely.
  • To respond truthfully to questions from a health professional regarding their health status and the likely impact on their driving ability.
  • To adhere to prescribed medical treatment.
  • To comply with requirements of a conditional licence as appropriate, including periodic medical reviews.
  • To assess the person’s fitness to drive based on relevant clinical and functional information and on the relevant published medical standards.
  • To advise the person regarding:
    • the impact of their medical condition or disability on their ability to drive and recommend restrictions, ongoing monitoring, rehabilitation/training or transitional arrangements as required
    • their responsibility to report their condition to the driver licensing authority if their long-term or permanent injury or illness may affect their ability to drive safely.
  • To treat, monitor and manage the person’s condition with ongoing consideration of their fitness to drive.
  • To report to the driver licensing authority regarding a person’s fitness to drive, including their suitability to hold
  • a conditional licence, in accordance with legislated requirements and public safety and ethical considerations.

Note: Medical practitioners or other clinicians do not have the legal authority to restrict or reinstate a patient’s driver licence; this can only be done by the relevant driver licensing authority.

  • To make all decisions regarding the licensing of drivers. The driver licensing authority will consider reports provided by health professionals, police and members of the public, as well as crash involvement and driving histories.
  • To make all decisions regarding the issue of conditional licences. The driver licensing authority will consider the recommendations of health professionals as well as other relevant factors.
  • To educate the driving public of their responsibility to report any long-term or permanent injury or illness to the driver licensing authority if the condition may affect their ability to drive safely.
Brochures describing the responsibilities of patients, examining professionals and licensing authorities may be available from state and territory driver licensing authorities. Refer to Appendix 9 for contact details. Information is also available from the Austroads website at <www.austroads.com.au>.

Figure 2: Relationships/interaction between patients/drivers, health professionals and the driver licensing authority (DLA)

The above relationships are generalised and may vary between states/territories in terms of legislative requirements. For specific requirements refer to Appendix 3: Legislation relating to reporting.