Information for health professionals
Driving a motor vehicle is a complex task involving perception, appropriate judgement, adequate response time and reasonable physical capability. A range of medical conditions, as well as certain treatments, may impair any of these factors.
The medical standards for driving, are recognised by all driver licensing authorities in Australia, and are contained in the publication Assessing Fitness to Drive for commercial and private vehicle drivers.
The primary purpose of this publication is to increase road safety in Australia by helping you to assess a person’s medical fitness to drive in a consistent and appropriate manner based on current medical evidence.
Who is a health professional?
For the purpose of medical fitness to drive a health professional is a:
- occupational therapist
Health professional role in assessing medical fitness
As a health professional your role is to assess a person’s medical fitness to drive based on the medical standards in the publication Assessing Fitness to Drive for commercial and private vehicle drivers.
While it is not compulsory, you are encouraged to use the Private and Commercial Vehicle Driver’s Health Assessment form (F3195) as it is a tool that has been developed to guide your medical assessment. If you choose to use the Private and Commercial Vehicle Driver’s Health Assessment form, it should be retained by you and form part of the person’s medical records.
At the completion of your medical assessment, you will need to complete a medical certificate for motor vehicle driver form (F3712) for the person, where you will be required to provide a recommendation to us regarding:
- the person’s medical fitness to drive
- any conditions and restrictions associated to the person’s driver licence
- the medical certificate expiry date.
Familiarity with a person’s medical history
Where a person has indicated on their medical certificate for motor vehicle driver form (F3712) that they have been issued with a show cause notice proposing the amendment, suspension or cancellation of their driver licence, for the purpose of your assessment, you should identify whether the show cause is based on medical grounds.
If the show cause is based on medical grounds and/or you are not familiar with the person’s medical history, or if you haven’t been involved in any previous assessment of the person’s medical fitness to drive, your assessment should generally be more thorough than a normal consultation.
We will consider your recommendation regarding a person’s medical fitness to drive when we make decisions about driver licensing matters.
If the medical standards in the Assessing Fitness to Drive for commercial and private vehicle drivers publication indicate assessment by a specialist is required, then you must refer the person to an appropriate specialist.
You may also refer a person for assessment by a specialist if you feel it's necessary in order to make a recommendation to us, regarding the person’s medical fitness to drive.
If a specialist can't be seen for a while and you have assessed the person as not meeting the criteria to hold an unconditional licence, you may consider whether the person meets the criteria to hold a conditional licence.
We will permit a person to drive pending assessment by a specialist if:
- the person has an appointment to see the relevant specialist at the earliest opportunity
- AND in your opinion the person’s medical condition is not likely to lead to an acute incapacity, or loss of concentration before their assessment occurs.
If this is the case, you will need to complete an interim medical certificate for motor vehicle drivers form (F3712) for the person that will cover this period of time only. The person must carry their certificate whenever they drive and they must drive in accordance with any stated conditions.
You can require a person to take a driver assessment, if you feel they need to, so you can provide a recommendation to us. We recommend that driver assessments should be conducted by an occupational therapist who is qualified in driver assessment.
If this is the case, you will need to complete an interim medical certificate for motor vehicle drivers form (F3712) for the person for the purpose of undertaking a driver assessment only. The person must carry their certificate while undertaking their assessment and drive in accordance with any stated conditions.
For a list of qualified occupational therapists call Occupational Therapy Australia – Queensland on (07) 3397 6744.
Conditions and restrictions in your assessment
Any conditions and restrictions that you recommend on the person’s medical certificate must be able to be enforced by the police.
Examples of conditions or restrictions that can be enforced by the police:
- must not drive on roads where the speed limit is more than 60km/h
- must not drive on highways or freeways
- must not drive at night
- must only drive during daylight hours
- may only drive within a 10km radius of their home
Examples of conditions or restrictions that cannot be enforced by the police:
- must take medication
- must only drive in their local area
- must not drive when feeling unwell
Medical certificate expiry dates
A medical certificate expiry date must be within the review periods specified in the publication Assessing Fitness to Drive for commercial and private vehicle drivers.
From 1 July 2017 for drivers aged 75 years or older, a medical certificate may only be issued for a maximum period of 13 months.
Medical certificates issued prior to 1 July 2017 will expire on the stated expiry date.
If you decide you need to review the person’s medical condition more frequently, you can make the medical certificate expiry date shorter than the review period stated in the publication Assessing Fitness to Drive for commercial and private vehicle drivers, or the 13 month maximum period for drivers aged 75 years or older.
Medical certificate clarification
We may contact you directly where further information is required about a person’s medical fitness to drive before we can make a decision about a person’s driver licence.
Notifying us about a person’s medical condition
An applicant for a driver licence or the holder of a driver licence has a legal obligation to notify the Department of Transport and Main Roads about a permanent or long-term medical condition, or a change or increase in an existing medical condition as soon as they become aware of it. Failure to notify us may result in a fine in excess of $8,000 and the cancellation of the person’s licence.
If you believe that the person will not notify us about their medical condition and their medical condition poses a risk to public safety, or that your advice to not drive, or your recommended treatment will not be complied with, you are encouraged to notify us.
Where you have assessed a person as not medically fit to drive and we have been notified, you will receive a receipt notification from us.
You are not liable, civilly or under an administrative process for giving information to us in good faith about a person’s medical fitness to drive.
How to notify us
You can notify us about a person’s medical condition:
- by completing the health professional medical condition notification (F4842)
- by completing a copy of the medical condition notification form in the Assessing Fitness to Driver for commercial and private vehicle drivers publication.
You can also send your notification about a person’s medical condition by post, fax or email.
Department of Transport and Main Roads
Locked Bag 2000
Red Hill Rockhampton Qld 4701
Fax: 07 4931 1624