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- Posted by: Yvonne F. Berg
A fitness to drive medical assessment can help people experiencing injury, illness, disability or other difficulties get back on the road. Being able to operate a vehicle is an important life skill which allows people to live independently and get to where they need to be with ease.
As you get older you may find that your ability to operate a vehicle isn’t as strong. A fitness to drive medical assessment can help you determine whether or not it’s safe for you to use your car.
This article will outline what the assessment involves.
What is a fitness to drive medical assessment?
It is an evaluation of a person’s ability to operate a vehicle safely, comfortably and with confidence. It is carried out by an occupational therapist, and consists of three components: an off-road, on-road and post-evaluation. Throughout the process the occupational therapist will identify any health conditions or other issues which may hinder the person’s ability to operate a vehicle safely and with ease.
Reasons you might need one
Apart from wanting peace of mind knowing that you can safely operate your car, Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) require all licensed vehicle operators to be well and able, and they may require you to complete a fitness to drive medical assessment in order to prove this.
Some of the main reasons to get an evaluation are as a result of:
Injury & illness
People with a long-term illness or injury are required to inform the RMS of their condition. An evaluation can determine the extent to which an illness or injury disrupts a person’s ability to operate a vehicle safely. Examples of health conditions which could do this include:
Having a long-term illness or injury doesn’t necessarily prevent you from operating a vehicle, but you may need to use assistive equipment or other skills to allow you to do so.
Many people with physical disabilities are able to operate a vehicle safely. The RMS considers those with minor physical disabilities (such as the loss of toes or minor joint stiffness) fine to use a car. However, people with serious physical disabilities (such as the loss of one or more major limbs) will be required to pass a disability test before they can get a licence. A fitness to drive medical assessment can help determine if there are any vehicle modifications, skills or special aids that can be used to help a person with a serious physical disability operate a vehicle.
As people get older, they often experience some health conditions that can make it difficult to operate a vehicle. This is a relatively normal part of the ageing process. Common health conditions include:
- Joint and muscle stiffness
- Vision problems
- Hearing problems; and
- Slow reaction time.
The effects of medication may also impact an older person’s ability to operate a vehicle. As such, people over the age of 75 are required by the RMS to complete an annual health review to determine whether or not they are well enough to use a car. A fitness to drive medical assessment can be useful in evaluating a person’s ability and establishing what steps can be taken to improve their ability if necessary.
A fitness to drive medical assessment can be an effective means of establishing a person’s ability to operate a vehicle safely, comfortably and with confidence. If you or someone you know may require an evaluation, start by visiting your GP and getting a health report.