It is important that all motorists are fit to drive for medical purposes, as having a high risk of stroke or having very poor vision, for example, can make operating a vehicle dangerous for everyone on the road.
The RMS requires all motorists to be fit and competent; as such, older people and/or people with a health condition may be required to undergo regular health testing to provide proof of competency.
Reasons you may require a health review
There are several occasions on which you will be required to complete a health check. These include:
You are applying for or renewing your licence
Everyone is required to complete an eyesight test when applying for or renewing a licence. This is to ensure that you meet the RMS’ eyesight standards for safety.
People over the age of 75 are required to have a fitness to drive medical review on an annual basis, regardless of their licence duration. The RMS should send out a form roughly 2 months before your birthday to remind you.
You have a heavy vehicle licence
Those with a class MC licence are required to have a health check more often:
- Age 21 followed by every 10 years
- Age 40 followed by every 5 years
- Age 60 followed by every 2 years
- Age 70 followed by every 1 year.
You have undergone changes in visual aids
If you begin or cease wearing contact lenses or glasses whilst operating a vehicle, you will be required to pass an eyesight test.
Someone has expressed concern regarding your ability to operate a vehicle
If a member of the public, health professional or police officer has expressed concern regarding your fitness to drive for a medical reason to the Registrar of Motor Vehicles, you may be required to submit a health review.
You have a health condition which may impair your ability to operate a vehicle safely
There are a number of conditions that may affect your ability to safely use the road, and which may require a fitness to drive medical assessment. These include:
- Vision problems, such as cataracts and mascular degeneration
- Blackouts or fainting
- Disability, such as loss or impairment of a limb, or acquired brain injury
- Stroke or heart disease
- Sleep disorders
- Psychiatric disorders, such as autism, PTSD and schizophrenia
- Neurological disorders, such as epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis
Having one of these conditions doesn’t necessarily mean you cannot operate a vehicle; it means that you may be required to provide a fitness to drive medical report before applying for or renewing a licence. If you are in a crash and have not told the RMS of any health conditions that may have contributed to it, you could face legal trouble and/or a loss of insurance.
How to get a fitness to drive medical assessment
If you are required to provide a fit to drive medical report, you will have to go to a qualified professional such as a general practitioner, optometrist, or occupational therapist to obtain one. This may involve booking and attending the appointment, undertaking any required tests, responding honestly to health questions, and following prescribed treatments. Once the assessment has been completed, your practitioner should discuss the outcome and any further steps that you need to take. They should also provide you with a copy of the report to provide to the RMS.
Having a health condition or disability doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be able to operate a vehicle, however it may require you to provide a fitness to drive medical report.