Analysis and Overview of the Guidelines for Assessing Fitness to Drive for Commercial and Private Vehicle Drivers

This article analyzes the relevance of guidelines on fitness to drive released by AUSTROADS and the National Road Transport Commission (September 2003). The guidelines have three parts: background information; specific medical conditions; and appendices of relevant documents and contacts. The author of this article notes that no recognized legal medical authority is cited in these guidelines for physicians. A disclaimer at the end of the guidelines exonerates its authors from potential repercussions. The author discusses many issues of concern, including that guidelines for private and commercial drivers are combined in the document; the lack of universal Australian standards between states; physicians who report contrary to patients' wishes; mandated reporting for patients at risk; language that is patronizing; how to handle patients who may not fulfill the guidelines but whom the doctor may consider fit to drive; ambiguity regarding responsibility to report; the different roles of the specialist from the family general practitioner; the discussion of the same diagnosis in different sections with application of conflicting limitations; and inappropriate and inaccurate medical language. The author concludes that the guidelines are an attempt to assess fitness to drive, but contain serious flaws and provide limited information upon which to base decisions. Ambiguous language complicates application of the guidelines and places the health care professional at risk, despite a disclaimer protecting its authors.


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  • Accession Number: 01042687
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Feb 10 2007 9:54AM