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New standards for driving medicals are coming into play this month. But what do the changes really mean and how will they affect workers? Read this article to learn more.

But first, what is a driver’s medical?

A commercial driver’s medical is a particular type of medical that is used to determine a person’s fitness to drive. Commercial Drivers Medicals are used for workers who drive for work (like a delivery drivers and bus drivers) while individuals who drive heavy goods vehicles and hold a medium rigid (MR), heavy rigid (HR), heavy combination (HC) or multiple combinations (MC) licence types must also undertake medicals.

KINNECT performs commercial driver’s medicals across Australia.

What tests are conducted during a driving medical?

The requirements for Commercial Drivers Medical vary across Australia. Generally, a driving medical includes Audiometry, Medical Examination, Vision, Musculoskeletal Screen, Medical History. Depending on the jurisdiction, a driving medical may also include a Urinalysis.

What are the new standards?

The standards that doctors use to provide their recommendations have been in place since 2016. They are called the Austroads Assessing Fitness to Drive 2016  standards.

This month (June 2022) new standards will be released. These don’t change the medical that is performed or the tests that will be undertaken, but they do provide more detailed guidance for doctors to help them make their recommendations.

For example, since the last guidance was published, there has been an uptick in the prevalence of prescribed medicinal marijuana (cannabis). With medicinal marijuana now prescribed for many different conditions, consideration about safety for driving is an issue that should be considered by the prescribing doctor. The new standards now include extensive information to guide decisions about driving with regard to the use of medicine marijuana, and a range of other medical conditions.

KINNECT Clinical Governance Manager, Sharon Marsh, said:

“The new standards won’t make a different to the way we complete or process driving medicals, but they do equip our doctors with more detailed information to help inform their recommendations.”

Why Assess Fitness to Drive?

Driving a vehicle is a privilege that can impact upon the lives of yourself and others. Anyone who drives a vehicle for work has legal responsibilities to uphold with regards to their health. All States and Territories in Australia require employees to report health conditions which may impact on their ability to drive safely. The ultimate goal of these laws are to protect human life and to ensure everyone returns home safely.

Regardless of your perceived ability, driving is a complex task which requires a certain level of fitness. Being fit to drive means having good perception, judgement, responsiveness and physical capability. Additionally, occupational driving places extra demand on the driver such as work schedules and the transport of dangerous goods. Therefore, if you are not deemed fit to drive, your ability to undertake your work safely is compromised.

What Medical Conditions can affect your ability to drive safely?

Medical conditions which may affect your safe driving include:

  • Blackouts
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • Neurological conditions such as Epilepsy or seizures
  • Musculoskeletal conditions
  • Psychiatric disorders
  • Substance misuse
  • Sleep disorders
  • Vision problems

As an occupational driver, it is your responsibility to self-reflect on how your current health may affect your driving ability. This includes any permanent or long-term illnesses, including drug and alcohol use. Under State and Territory laws, you are required to report such illnesses to the Driver Licensing Authority prior to licence issue.

Reporting these conditions such as the above does not necessarily mean that your licence will be taken away or not issued. However, it does mean that the Driver Licensing Authority can work with you and your doctor for the best possible outcome. As mentioned above, it is your responsibility to report all illnesses to your State or Territory Driver Licensing Authority. Responding dishonestly to questions in your medical will only hurt yourself in the long run.

Conditional Licences

If you have declared a medical condition, you may be issued with a conditional licence. A conditional licence allows you to continue to drive as long as certain conditions are met. For example, driving may only be permitted when corrective lenses are worn in the case of vision issues. In other cases, you may be required to undertake regular medical reviews, with the results forwarded to the Driver Licensing Authority. You will be able to drive if you meet specific conditions and attend medical reviews, where deemed necessary. Should you be issued with a conditional licence, it is your duty to comply with all requests, or you risk cancellation.

How can KINNECT help?

KINNECT offer commercial drivers medical across Australia. Our health professionals identify any health or medical conditions that may impair your driving ability. During these medicals, KINNECT doctors may provide recommendations on your ‘Fitness to Drive’ certificate for the Driver Licensing Authority’s evaluation. However, your application outcome will be decided by your State or Territory Authority and not by KINNECT or your employer.

Where can I find further information?

Details on the relevant State & Territory Laws are detailed below. You can also find out more about the new standards for Assessing Fitness to Drive on AusTransport’s website:

You can also access the details for your state or territory on the links below:


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