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Assessing Fitness to Drive

It is widely recognised that there are multiple factors that contribute to the safety of a driver while operating a vehicle on the road. However, one of the principle factors for consideration is that of the driver’s health and fitness to drive.

Commercial vehicle drivers (that is drivers of trucks, public passenger vehicles, and vehicles carrying dangerous goods) must meet certain medical criteria to ensure that their inherent health status does not significantly increase their accident risk while operating a vehicle.

The commercial drivers medical is based on and/or conducted in accordance with the national medical standards as set out by Austroads Assessing Fitness to Drive Guidelines. Australian States and Territories have established laws, regarding health and driving, to ensure public safety is maintained.

There are certain health and safety requirements that both commercial and private vehicle drivers must meet to successfully lodge the licence application. As an occupational driver, it is your responsibility to consider how your general health and any health conditions, including drug and alcohol use, long-term or permanent illness’, may affect your ability to drive safely under Australian law.

Although difficult to assess the extent to which medical conditions contribute to crashes, it is recognised by the guidelines that certain medical conditions have the potential to cause serious impairment and as such significantly increase the risk of injury and/or death whilst operating a vehicle. These include:

  • Blackouts
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Neurological Conditions such as Epilepsy
  • Musculoskeletal Conditions
  • Psychiatric Disorders
  • Substance Misuse
  • Sleep Disorders
  • Visions Problems

In most situations, your fitness to drive will not be heavily restricted due to a medical condition. Your State or Territory licensing authority can issue you a conditional licence.

You will be able to drive if you meet specific conditions or restrictions and attend periodic medical reviews, as deemed necessary by the Driver Licensing Authority. Should you be issued with a conditional licence, it is your duty to comply with any restrictions or conditions for the duration of your licence and to see your doctor for review within the timeframe given.

KINNECT health professionals may provide recommendations on your ‘Fitness to Drive’ certificate for the Driver Licensing Authority’s evaluation. Ultimately, the outcome of your licence application will be decided by your State or Territory authority and not KINNECT or your employer.

Please note that, for this assessment, it is important to bring glasses, if you use them. Please do not wear contacts as we will check both corrected and uncorrected vision. If you have a pre-existing medical condition that may affect your fitness to drive, please bring any relevant and current documentation that may assist the health professional in conducting your assessment.

Individuals holding medium rigid (MR), heavy rigid (HR), heavy combination (HC) or multiple combination (MC) vehicles / licence types are required to have a commercial drivers medical completed. Public passenger vehicle drivers also fall under commercial standards.

A commercial drivers medical should be conducted every 3 – 5 years, depending on the State and Territory of application. If you would like more information regarding the guidelines for your State or Territory, please contact us. (alternatively Health Surveillance department or Austroads).

In most States and Territories, a medical assessment is also required to obtain a licence to transport dangerous goods. Several materials and substances are classified as dangerous goods, as outlined in the Australian Code for the Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road & Rail. For more information

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