If you suffer from a serious health condition, there is a good chance that will need to pass a medical assessment before you can drive. If you live in New South Wales, you’ll need to pass the test administered through the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS). However, it isn’t just a health condition that can inhibit your capacity to operate a motor vehicle. In fact, the RMS stipulates that Australians over a certain age must pass the examination if they want to gain a valid license. So, if you think you suffer from a condition that will hurt your ability to drive, a medical assessment from Modified Driving Solutions is something you will need to pass to verify your license.
At what age will I have to sit the examination?
About 8 weeks before your 75th birthday, you’ll receive a letter from the RMS. Unfortunately, the letter won’t be telling you that you’ve won the lottery. In fact, the contents of the letter will be regarding your license and how you can keep it. Essentially, you’ll have to pass a medical to drive legally in NSW. It doesn’t matter if your license is still valid for another 3 years or 5 years – the assessment must be approved by a qualified GP and then sent to the RMS for verification. There are more older Australians on the road, so it’s crucial that safety is upheld.
What if my eyesight has changed?
Our eyes are prone to change over time. Hours spent staring at a computer typing away can induce short-sightedness and myopia. Whatever the cause is, you may need to change the specifications listed on your license. If your license says you must wear glasses to drive, a medical assessment will need to be passed if your eyesight improves to the point that spectacles are no longer needed.
You aren’t legally allowed to change the prescriptions of your license, just because you may feel comfortable not wearing glasses behind the wheel. If you are pulled over by a police officer, you can and likely will still be fined.
How does the process work?
So basically, your local doctor or GP can file all the documents online, without you even having to go to the RMS. Since March 2017, an online system has been in place to ensure that if someone wants to drive, a medical assessment can be administered and filed with greater ease. Your doctor can still opt for you to hand it into your local RMS personally, however, this is entirely up to the discretion of your GP.
What if I suffer from a more serious disability?
If someone suffers from a serious medical condition or disability that could impact their ability to drive, a medical assessment from an occupational therapist will be required. Basically, your doctor will recommend this option if they are not able to be approve your license. The assessment is broken down into three components:
- Off-Road Assessment
- On-Road Assessment
In the initial phase, the occupational therapist will look for anything that may impact someone’s faculty to drive, like medical conditions. This will be conducted at the person’s home, in a comfortable and familiar environment.
This part of the test occurs in the person’s local neighbourhood. The person will attempt to operate the car in a safe way, to show that they can drive with a medically-modified license. The vehicle will be dual-controlled should the person lose control of the car at any stage of the examination.
Right after the exam, the occupational therapist will have a discussion with the person to determine whether they have passed or not. This may include further recommendations regarding the outcome (like modifications to car to assist with safety). A report will then be sent to the RMS to confirm whether you can drive with a medical license.