- Always refer to the Austroads
Assessing Fitness to Drive guidelines
when assessing your patient’s ability
to drive safely.
- Document your clinical assessment
and the advice given to a patient
about their fitness to drive.
- It is not a breach of privacy or your
duty of confidentiality to the patient
if you make a report to a licensing
authority where appropriate.
You may need to assess your patient’s
fitness to drive, either at the patient’s
request or because you are concerned
about changes in their condition.
In all states and territories, patients have
a statutory obligation to report any
medical conditions that may adversely
affect their ability to drive.
The Austroads Assessing Fitness to Drive
guidelines outline the role of doctors
in assessing and certifying a patient’s
fitness to drive.
The guidelines contain:
- The assessment criteria for a range
of different medical conditions that
can impact a patient’s ability to drive
- A framework to guide your
assessment of a patient.
- Flowcharts explaining the process
including what actions might be
required after your assessment.
Always refer to the Austroads Assessing
Fitness to Drive guidelines when
assessing your patient’s ability to
Document your clinical assessment
including the advice given to your
patient about their fitness to drive.
Outcomes from the assessment
If based on your assessment you
consider the patient is unfit to drive, then
you should discuss this with them.
You have a duty to advise the patient if
it is unsafe for them to drive due to
long-term or short-term health conditions, disabilities or treatments.
Remind them of their obligation to
self-report to the licensing authority.
You may also wish to inform other
members of the patient’s healthcare
team as appropriate.
If you are concerned that a patient may
not stop driving or may not self-report,
then you need to consider reporting
your patient to the licensing authority.
Doctors’ duty to the community
If a patient you have examined is likely
to endanger the public by driving when
they are medically unfit, you may have
a duty to notify the state or territory
Laws in South Australia and the
Northern Territory make it mandatory
for health professionals to notify the
licensing authority in this situation.
In other jurisdictions, there is no
mandatory obligation to report a
patient, but it may be necessary as part
of your ethical duty to protect the public.
State and territory legislation will protect
you from civil or criminal liability if you
make a report in good faith. It is not
a breach of privacy or your duty of
confidentiality to the patient to make
such a report.
If you are going to make a report,
you should let the patient know and
document this in your records.
Unclear or complex assessments
If the patient has a significant or
complex underlying medical condition
or the outcome of your assessment is
unclear, you may need to arrange a
specialist or second opinion.
If the patient is reluctant to accept
You may feel pressure from patients to
assess them as fit to drive. This can be
difficult to manage, particularly if you
have a long-standing relationship with
It can be tempting to advocate for your
patient or focus on the impact of losing
their licence. If you certify a patient as fit
to drive despite your concerns, and they
have an accident, the consequences
can be tragic for the patient and the
community. You may also be exposed
to legal action.
Consider showing your patient the
parts of the guidelines they do not
meet. This may help them understand
the risks that the guidelines address
and your obligations in conducting the
You can empathise with your patient
while upholding your obligation to
assess them appropriately.
Start the discussion early
Where a patient has a progressive
condition that may affect their driving,
it is helpful to raise this early. It may allow
the patient time to consider the future
impact on their ability to drive, discuss
it with those close to them and plan
Follow up your patient
Consider seeing the patient a few
weeks after your assessment to follow
up the discussion and reinforce your
It may be helpful for the patient to bring
a family member or other support
person to their appointments.
AustRoads guidelines austroads.com.
For more information or immediate
medico-legal advice, call us on
1800 128 268, 24/7 in emergencies.
IMPORTANT: This publication is not comprehensive and does not constitute legal or medical advice. You should seek legal or other professional advice before
relying on any content, and practise proper clinical decision making with regard to the individual circumstances. Persons implementing any recommendations
contained in this publication must exercise their own independent skill or judgement or seek appropriate professional advice relevant to their own particular
practice. Compliance with any recommendations will not in any way guarantee discharge of the duty of care owed to patients and others coming into contact
with the health professional or practice. Avant is not responsible to you or anyone else for any loss suffered in connection with the use of this information. Information
is only current at the date initially published. © Avant Mutual Group Limited 2022 fact-074 07/22 (DT-2380)