Austroads Publications Online

Assessing Fitness to Drive for Commercial and Private Vehicle Drivers (2016 Edition)

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Publication no: AP-G56-16 Pages: 188
Published: 01 September 2016

Note: The National Transport Commission (NTC) and Austroads have been advised of an issue with the medical criteria for drivers with repaired thoracic or abdominal aneurysms. To quickly resolve this issue, the NTC wrote to state and territory driver licensing authorities on 9 May 2017 asking them to consider applying the previous guidelines for repaired thoracic and abdominal aneurysms, in consultation each driver’s medical specialists. The NTC also asked them to continue applying the current guidelines for unrepaired aneurysms.

The NTC and Austroads will also seek to clarify the current guidelines as soon as possible and have begun consulting with the Australian and New Zealand Society for Vascular Surgery on formally removing any unintended consequences. 

Assessing Fitness to Drive, a joint publication of Austroads and the National Transport Commission (NTC), details the medical standards for driver licensing for use by health professionals and driver licensing authorities.

The primary purpose of this publication is to increase road safety in Australia by assisting health professionals to:

  • assess the fitness to drive of their patients in a consistent and appropriate manner based on current medical evidence
  • promote the responsible behaviour of their patients, having regard to their medical fitness
  • conduct medical examinations for the licensing of drivers as required by state and territory driver licensing authorities
  • provide information to inform decisions on conditional licences, and
  • recognise the extent and limits of their professional and legal obligations with respect to reporting fitness to drive.

The publication also aims to provide guidance to driver licensing authorities in making licensing decisions.

With these aims in mind Assessing Fitness to Drive:

  • outlines clear medical requirements for driver capability based on available evidence and expert medical opinion
  • clearly differentiates between national minimum standards (approved by the Transport and Infrastructure Council) for drivers of commercial and private vehicles
  • provides general guidelines for managing patients with respect to their fitness to drive
  • outlines the legal obligations for health professionals, driver licensing authorities and drivers
  • provides a reporting template to guide reporting to the driver licensing authority if required, and
  • provides links to supporting and substantiating information.

The standards are approved by Commonwealth, state and territory transport ministers.

The standards in this 2016 edition are effective from 1 October 2016.

The PDF of Assessing Fitness to Drive is free to download. A hardcopy can be purchased for $25 including postage.

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Table of Contents

Part A: General information
  • 1. About this publication
  • 1.1 Purpose
  • 1.2 Target audience
  • 1.3 Scope
  • 1.4 Content
  • 1.5 Development and evidence base
  • 2. Principles of assessing fitness to drive
  • 2.1 The driving task
  • 2.2 Medical conditions and driving
  • 2.3 Assessing and supporting functional driver capacity
  • 3. Roles and responsibilities
  • 3.1 Roles and responsibilities of driver licensing authority
  • 3.2 Roles and responsibilities of drivers
  • 3.3 Roles and responsibilities of health professionals
  • 4. Licensing and medical fitness to drive
  • 4.1 Medical standards for private and commercial vehicle drivers
  • 4.2 Considerations for commercial vehicle licensing
  • 4.3 Prescribed periodic medical examinations for particular licensing/authorisation classes
  • 4.4 Conditional licences
  • 4.5 Reinstatement of licences or removal or variation of licence conditions
  • 5. Assessment and reporting process – step by step
  • 5.1 Which forms to use
  • 5.2 Steps in the assessment and reporting process
Part B: Medical standards
  • 1. Blackouts
  • 1.1 Relevance to the driving task
  • 1.2 General assessment and management guidelines
  • 1.3 Medical standards for licensing
  • 2. Cardiovascular conditions
  • 2.1 Relevance to the driving task
  • 2.2 General assessment and management guidelines
  • 2.3 Medical standards for licensing
  • 3. Diabetes mellitus
  • 3.1 Relevance to the driving task
  • 3.2 General assessment and management guidelines
  • 3.3 Medical standards for licensing
  • 4. Hearing loss and deafness
  • 4.1 Relevance to the driving task
  • 4.2 General assessment and management guidelines
  • 4.3 Medical standards for licensing
  • 5. Musculoskeletal conditions
  • 5.1 Relevance to the driving task
  • 5.2 General assessment and management guidelines
  • 5.3 Medical standards for licensing
  • 6. Neurological conditions
  • 6.1 Dementia
  • 6.2 Seizures and epilepsy
  • 6.3 Other neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions
  • 7. Psychiatric conditions
  • 7.1 Relevance to the driving task
  • 7.2 General assessment and management guidelines
  • 7.3 Medical standards for licensing
  • 8. Sleep disorders
  • 8.1 Relevance to the driving task
  • 8.2 General assessment and management guidelines
  • 8.3 Medical standards for licensing
  • 9. Substance misuse
  • 9.1 Relevance to the driving task
  • 9.2 General assessment and management guidelines
  • 9.3 Medical standards for licensing
  • 10. Vision and eye disorders
  • 10.1 Relevance to the driving task
  • 10.2 General assessment and management guidelines
  • 10.3 Medical standards for licensing
Part C: Appendices
  • Appendix 1: Regulatory requirements for driver testing
  • Appendix 2: Forms
  • Appendix 2.1: Medical report form
  • Appendix 2.2: Medical condition notification form
  • Appendix 3: Legislation relating to reporting
  • Appendix 3.1: Legislation relating to reporting by drivers
  • Appendix 3.2: Legislation relating to reporting by health professionals
  • Appendix 4: Drivers’ legal BAC limits
  • Appendix 5: Alcohol interlock programs
  • Appendix 6: Disabled car parking and taxi services
  • Appendix 7: Seatbelt use
  • Appendix 8: Helmet use
  • Appendix 9: Driver licensing authority contacts
  • Appendix 10: Specialist driver assessors
  • Index

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