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After a lifetime of enjoying the convenience of owning a vehicle, the prospect of not being able to get behind the wheel because of a medical condition is a particularly unpleasant one. But it is one that many of us will face.

As AustRoad states in the report Assessing Fitness to Drive for Commercial and Private Vehicle Drivers, “While many factors contribute to safety on the road, driver health and fitness to drive is an important consideration. Drivers must meet certain medical standards to ensure their health status does not unduly increase their crash risk.”

We’re going to run through the rights and responsibilities of those driving with medical conditions, so you can keep the road safe for yourself and those you are sharing it with.

Conditions to be aware of

Determining your fitness to continue driving is all about being honest with yourself about your abilities and your limitations. As AustRoad states, “Advanced age, in itself, is not a barrier to driving, and functional ability rather than chronological age should be the criterion used in assessing the fitness to drive of older people.”

Several aged-based medical conditions could inhibit your ability to drive. If you have one (or more of the following) you must contact your state roads and traffic authority:

  • Dementia
  • Diabetes
  • Heart conditions
  • Neurological conditions
  • Psychiatric conditions
  • Seizures
  • Sleep disorders
  • Visual impairment
  • Hearing loss

Source: VicRoads

Reporting a condition

If you have any of the abovementioned conditions, you have a legal obligation to report this information. As VicRoads states, “Driving is a privilege, which brings responsibilities. One of those responsibilities is to ensure that you are capable of driving safely.

“Failure to report a medical condition or disability may put your life and the lives of others at risk, and may also jeopardise your insurance cover.”

Medical review

Depending on your age you may have to attend yearly medical review to keep your license. In it a medical professional will assess how your condition is affecting your fitness to remain behind the wheel and whether you can keep your license.

Car insurance

It’s also important that your insurer is aware of any medical condition that could inhibit your ability to drive. If something happens and they’re not aware of your condition, you could leave yourself exposed and unable to make a claim.

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