Tips to ensure you can keep driving as a you age
The convenience of owning a motor vehicle is undeniable, but as we start to get older driving around becomes a little riskier. This isn’t necessarily a deterioration of skill or physical ability, but rather a reflection of the risks associated with sharing the road. As Victoria’s Transport Accident Commission notes, “Drivers aged 75 years or over have a higher risk (per distance travelled) of being killed in a crash than any other age group.”
We’re going to take you through the licence requirements of every state in Australia, as well as some tips for driving safely in your older years. By knowing what’s required of you as a motorist, understanding your limitations and having a reliable, comprehensive car insurance policy, you can continue to enjoy the privilege of driving a vehicle at any age.
From the age of 75 you need to complete a medical review every year, regardless of licence class. When you reach 85 you need to pass a practical driving assessment every second year to retain an unrestricted licence. You can get a modified licence without the practical driving test, but it will restrict you to certain conditions and areas.
Source: NSW Road and Maritime Services
In Victoria, you can continue driving, provided it is considered safe for you to do so. But if you develop any long-term or permanent physical or mental conditions that might affect your ability to operate a vehicle, you’re legally obliged to notify VicRoads.
Drivers over the age of 75 in the Sunshine State are required to obtain a valid Medical Certificate for Motor Vehicle Driver and carry it at all times when driving. These certificates are valid 12 months, so if you’re over 75 you’re required to get a new one every year.
Source: Queensland Government
Senior drivers in South Australia that don’t have medical conditions are sent an annual self-assessment once they hit the age of 75. You need to visit a doctor to complete the self-assessment and failing to do so will make your licence invalid.
Source: Government of South Australia
In Western Australia once you reach the age of 80 you’re required to undergo an annual medical assessment and complete the senior driver's licence renewal declaration before you’re able to renew your driver’s licence.
Source: Department of Transport WA
Drivers aged 75 years and over in Tassie are now no longer required to undertaken an annual medical assessment but it’s strongly encouraged that they self-assess their driving ability. You’re also required to disclose any medical conditions.
Source: Department of State Growth Tasmania – Transport
While there are not aged based restrictions in the Northern Territory, drivers are legally required to disclose any medical conditions affecting their ability to drive.
Source: NT Government
Australian Capital Territory
Drivers in the ACT who are 75 and old must provide an annual medical certificate that confirms they are still medically fit to continue driving.
Source: Access Canberra
Additional tips for senior drivers
- Make sure your car insurance policy is comprehensive and up to date.
- Try to limit your driving to off-peak periods where you won’t encounter as much traffic.
- Avoid sunset or sunrise, times of high glare and poor visibility.
- Don’t drive if you’re been drinking or recently taken medication.
- Have your eyes tested regularly.
- Endeavour to take the safest route, rather than the most direct one.
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