Assessing fitness to drive can be challenging in general practice. When determining an individual’s fitness to drive, a clinician’s input may have legal, ethical, emotional and social ramifications.1
Except in the Northern Territory and South Australia, there is no mandatory obligation for a GP to report to the driving authority health conditions likely to impact safe driving. Drivers are required to self-report illness and injury to the driving authority that may impact on safe driving. If a GP considers, based on their assessment, that a patient is unfit to drive but the patient does not self-report, the GP will need to consider whether they should report the patient to the driving authority. State and territory legislation protects GPs against civil or criminal liability if they make a report in good faith. It is not a breach of privacy or the GP’s duty of confidentiality to make such a report.2
The aim of determining fitness to drive is to achieve a balance between:
- minimising any driving-related road safety risks for the individual and the community posed by the driver’s permanent or long- term injury or illness
- maintaining the driver’s lifestyle and employment-related mobility independence.
The national driver medical standards Assessing fitness to drive set out the considerations and medical criteria for safe driving.
A practical driver assessment conducted by a suitably qualified occupational therapy driving assessor may be helpful where the impacts of injury, illness, disability or the ageing process on functionality are not clear.