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Have your say about the proposed changes to the Assessing Fitness to Drive medical standards and guidelines

NTC seeks further input on proposed changes to Assessing Fitness to Drive

13 November 2015

The National Transport Commission (NTC) today released the proposed draft Assessing Fitness to Drive (AFTD) guidelines and accompanying consultation report which outlines the proposed changes to the medical standards and guidelines.

The purpose of the consultation report is to encourage feedback from stakeholders on the proposed changes before final recommendations are considered by ministers in the middle of 2016.

AFTD is a joint publication between the NTC and Austroads. It aims to increase road safety by helping health professionals:

  • assess the fitness of their patients to drive
  • promote responsible behaviour in their patients
  • conduct medical examinations for licensing drivers as required by licensing authorities
  • provide information to inform conditional licence decisions.

Acting Chief Executive of the NTC Geoff Allan said doctors were the best people to advise someone whether they are medically safe to drive or not.

“It is important to give doctors guidelines on when to talk to their patients about any conditions that may affect their driving ability and what factors to consider,” Mr Allan said.

“Because medical advice and evidence constantly evolves it is sensible to regularly review AFTD to make sure it continues to strike the right balance between reducing crashes on our roads and meeting the transport needs of people with a chronic medical condition.”

The draft changes were developed after the NTC released a draft consultation paper in October 2014 and received valuable input from medical practitioners, consumer health organisations, government transport departments, driver licensing authorities, unions, operators and transport industry associations.

The proposed changes include removing the advice inserted in the 2012 edition of AFTD that included reference to the use of glycated haemoglobin levels (HbA1c > 9%) as an indicator for ‘satisfactory control’ of diabetes. The decision to remove this advice was made after assessing the latest medical evidence and by seeking advice from the Diabetes Society, Diabetes Australia and the Diabetes Educators Association, among others.

Other proposed changes generally provide greater flexibility for individual assessment of people with a chronic disease or medical condition without compromising public safety.

The NTC’s consultation report is intended to be read in conjunction with the proposed draft AFTD medical standards and guidelines.

Mr Allan called on interested parties to make a submission to make sure the final changes to AFTD meet the needs of as many Australians as possible. A copy of the NTC’s proposed draft Assessing Fitness to Drive guidelines and accompanying Consultation Report for the Review of Assessing Fitness to Drive is available from the NTC’s website and submissions can be lodged through the site between now and Friday, 8 January 2016.

People making submissions may wish to use the submissions template.

The NTC will consider these submissions when drafting final recommendations and providing them to the Transport and Infrastructure Council’s next meeting which is expected to be held in middle of 2016.

Last Updated: 18/11/2016