Assessing Fitness to Drive

Table of Contents

3.1 Roles and responsibilities of driver licensing authority

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 individualised and are based on a full consideration of relevant factors relating to:

  • the driver’s health
  • the driver’s functional capacity (including their ability to compensate for any impairment)
  • the driver’s insight into their condition
  • the driver’s compliance with any prescribed treatment
  • the driver’s compliance with existing licence conditions
  • the driver’s driving history
  • any other relevant information.

In making a licensing decision, the authority will seek input either directly from the driver and/or from a health professional. The authority will also act on unsolicited reports from health professionals, the police or members of the public regarding a person’s fitness to drive.

Under national driving licensing arrangements current at the time of publication, the driver licensing authority issuing the driver licence and the driver’s residential address should be in the same jurisdiction.

Payment for health examinations or assessments related to fitness to drive is generally not the responsibility of the driver licensing authority.

Each state and territory has an appeal system for situations where drivers do not agree with a decision made about their driver licences. The driver licensing authority will inform drivers of the appeal process when informing them of the licensing decision.

Driver licensing authorities can provide health professionals with information relating to:

  • licensing and administrative processes
  • medical aspects – while not all driver licensing authorities have medical officers on staff, they are able to assist health professionals who require guidance with particular cases
  • practical driver assessments
  • legal and ethical issues – the driver licensing authority can provide guidance regarding the legislative requirements for licensing and assessing fitness to drive. For general advice regarding legal or ethical issues, health professionals should contact their professional defence organisation.

Appendix 9 contains the contact details for driver licensing authorities around Australia.