Do You Need a Fit to Drive Medical Test?
To make sure everyone on our roads are fit to drive, medical standards set by the government must be satisfied. If you are aged over 75 years or have an injury or health condition that may impact your ability to operate a vehicle, you may be required to get tests done to prove your abilities.
Conditions that may affect road safety
There are a number of conditions which can impair one’s ability to operate a vehicle safely, such as:
Poor vision, monocular vision, glaucoma, mascular degeneration and cataracts are just some of the eye conditions which can impair your ability to safely use a vehicle. These issues can put you at a higher risk of crashing, especially when overtaking or pulling in or out of traffic, and can make it harder to read signs. If you have a vision problem you may need to get a fit to drive medical assessment done.
Dementia is a slow, irreversible loss of one’s mental abilities. It can create a myriad of road safety concerns, which get worse over time. If you have dementia you should visit your GP regularly to talk about your fit to drive medical abilities. You might also want to speak to your family to help transition from using a private car to some other kind of transport.
If you have epilepsy, you will only be given a licence if you have had no seizures for a minimum of one year (or ten years if you use a commercial vehicle). Your licence will have a condition on it and you will need to go through regular fit to drive medical reviews to keep it valid.
Hearing loss and deafness don’t generally impair your ability to use a private vehicle, however if you use a commercial vehicle you will be affected by hearing standards, and will need to undergo regular reviews with an audiologist or ENT specialist.
As we get older, things we once took for granted can start to decline – things like vision, hearing, strength, coordination and motor reflexes often get weaker as we age. This is why once you are aged 75 you are required to have an annual fit to drive medical review, to prove you are able to operate a vehicle safely. The RMS will mail you a form 8 weeks before your next birthday which your GP will need to complete.
Injuries & illness
If you have a long-term injury or illness you are legally required to tell the RMS. If you do not and you are in a road accident, you might be prosecuted and your insurance mightn’t cover you.
Many fit to drive medical forms are able to be completed and submitted to the RMS online via your GP or specialist. This makes the process much more efficient and faster and means you don’t have to go to a service centre in order to finish your assessment.
Your GP can give you advice regarding how your conditions might impair your ability to operate a vehicle, as well as give you tips for managing and overcoming them. However, the RMS is responsible for the final decision regarding whether or not to issue you a licence.
The RMS will consider your GP’s and specialist’s fit to drive medical advice, as well as factors like accident history and your type of vehicle (e.g. private car vs commercial truck). You might be given a conditional licence and be required to use vehicle aids in order to continue using the roads.