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Episode 7 - Driving in Older Age

Occupational Therapy Medical Driving Assessments

Who May Require an Occupational Therapy Medical Driving Assessment?

An Occupational Therapy medical driving assessment may be required for individuals with neurological/functional conditions such as Dementia, osteoarthritis, brain injuries, forms of cancer including Sarcoma, peripheral neuropathy, seizures, and diabetes, just to name a few.

Periodic Occupational Therapy medical driving re-assessments may need to be performed within 3, 6 or 12 months for progressive medical conditions to ensure safety on road.

What is the Role of an Occupational Therapy Medical Driving Assessor?

An Occupational Therapy Medical Driving Assessor provides a comprehensive off and on road driving assessment to determine an individual’s medical fitness for driving. A report is then provided to Transport for NSW Licence Review Medical Unit (RMS Medical Unit) and to the referring Treating Doctor/Specialist.

What Does an Occupational Therapy Medical Driving Assessment Involve?

Off Road Assessment

Prior to an on-road assessment, various screening tests and collateral history is obtained. This includes:

- Detailed medical history

- Functional screening – such as range of motion of upper and lower limbs

- Physical examination

- Visual assessment

- Cognitive screening

On Road Driving Assessment

The Occupational Therapy Medical Driving Assessor appoints a suitably qualified Disability Trained Driving Instructor to conduct the on-road driving assessment in a vehicle with a dual brake/control and/or other specialised vehicle modifications. The on-road drive usually takes up to 45 minutes and an analysis of observation, speed control, planning and judgement, vehicle positioning, reaction time and physical control is determined.

The Occupational Therapy Medical Driving Assessor discusses the outcome of the assessment and makes recommendations relating to licence class changes including upgrading, downgrading, maintaining an existing licence or issuing a licence cancellation.

What Factors Are Considered When Making Licence Changes/Recommendations?

  • Has an individual’s medical condition deteriorated or progressed including their vision?

  • Has their medication recently changed causing drowsiness, tremors, or other physiological concerns?

  • Has there been any recent motor vehicle accidents or hospital admissions including vertigo, seizures, delirium?

  • Has there been a change in behaviour including consuming more alcohol, anger, anxiety etc.

  • Who does an individual live with? Has this recently changed due to the passing of a spouse or other family member or close friend? Who look

s after them and where do family members or their next of kin reside?

  • How far away do they need to travel for medical treatment needs? Grocery shopping?

  • Do they live in country or remote areas or travel to their other properties?

  • Have they recently been required to travel to the city involving more complex driving for medical treatment needs?

  • How would they feel if they were unable to drive again? How do their family members view their driving?

  • Is it still important for the individual to hold a rider, commercial vehicle, passenger transport or truck licence?

  • Have they had recent eye surgery and no longer require spectacles for driving which is still listed as a condition on their licence?

Outcomes Following an Occupational Therapy Medical Driving Assessment

Most individuals can maintain their full licence subject to a periodic review. Some are restricted to driving within a km radius and/or during daylight hours only. Some require complex vehicle modifications following a stroke or spinal injury or amputation.

Sometimes a person’s license may need to be cancelled but this is not done lightly. However, it is important to ensure that not only the individual but everyone else on the road is kept safe.

For more information relating to driver licensing authority contacts please refer to your state or territory below.

Australian Capital Territory

Access Canberra

13 22 81

New South Wales

Transport for NSW

13 22 13

Northern Territory

Motor Vehicle Registry

1300 654 628 / (08) 8999 3111


Department of Transport and Main Roads

(07) 13 23 80

South Australia

Department for Infrastructure and Transport

13 10 84


Department of State Growth

1300 135 513


VicRoads Medical Review

13 11 71

Western Australia

Driver Services Department of Transport

1300 852 722

If you are required to undertake an Occupational Therapy medical driving assessment, an Occupational Therapist Specialist Medical Driving Assessor may be located within your state or territory by contacting Occupational Therapy Australia.



Occupational Therapy Australia

Select: ‘Find an OT’ where you can locate a suitably qualified Occupational Therapist Specialist Medical Driving Assessor. Follow the prompts to select the following:

Services Provided: ‘Face to Face’

Area of Practice: ‘Driving’

Suburb or Postcode: ‘xxxx’

1300 682 878


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