In order to be compliant with the Roads and Maritime Services in Australia, citizens that continue to suffer from and manage various ailments will be subject to driver medicals.
Rather than being obtrusive and strenuous exercises that test boundaries and create needless pressures, they are simple and direct measurements to assess if the driver is indeed fit to participate on the open road.
Accidents, injuries and deaths occur when citizens buckle up and venture onto the streets and freeways without having the physical or mental capacity to negotiate traffic, stop signs, lights and pedestrians safely.
Here we will outline some of the key talking points and guidelines of this practice, allowing those participants to be better informed about this valued process.
Participants who are unsure whether or not they need to be assessed with driver medicals can alleviate that doubt when they send a letter prior to the review taking place. This will likely occur 8 weeks before the scheduled appointment from the Roads and Maritime Services. At this juncture a trusted doctor or local medical practitioner will need to fill out an official Fitness to Drive Medical Assessment form. Here is where the doctor can outline one way or the other if they deem the individual to be in the fit or unfit category before lodging the document online. The organisation will then take appropriate action based on that assessment.
The fact of the matter is there is a clear and distinct age line that alters how an individual is judged according to scheduled driver medicals. Once a citizen has hit the 75 years of age mark, they are obligated to complete an assessment once every 12 months to fulfill their duty and be deemed fit for the road. A license can be issued for a period of either 3 or 5 years but that does not allow a driver to avoid a medical for that length of time. To keep this license valid, they have to book in an official appointment on an annual basis.
Involvement of Occupational Therapist
Simply relying on a GP to understand if patient is fit or unfit to drive is not feasible because they are confined to their practice. Driver medicals therefore can leverage the services of occupational therapists (OTs). These professionals can be uniquely tasked and skilled to carry out the process on the doctor’s behalf.
Vision Impairment a Chief Consideration
There are many different types of ailments that can be present and are taken into account for driver medicals. This will range from diabetes to heart disease, instances of blackouts, citizens recovering from a stroke or suffering from a neurological disorder. Then there are short-term physical injuries where casts and crutches have to be utilised, but they are judged according to those unique circumstances.
The chief consideration surrounds vision impairment. Issues around macular degeneration and glaucoma directly affect this element of the examination and will enforce a regular annual eyesight test for 75 year olds and over that has to be passed to receive a license. Renewal options will vary from 45 years of age and onwards as different visual aids can be sourced for contacts and glasses.
The Final Decision
Ultimately the final decision around a participant passing or failing driver medicals will be a combined assessment from a handful of important parties. A driving test may have to be completed and further discussions with a medical specialist or doctor might have to be taken place. There could also be areas of grey that are not distinct in a ‘fail’ or ‘pass’ capacity, seeing restrictions or conditions placed on a license depending on the ailment or category of vehicle in use. Once a citizen is part of this process, they simply have to fulfill their obligation and wait for the phases to play out before an outcome is handed down.