NSW Fitness To Drive Medical Assessment
Commercial drivers and their employers have a responsibility to ensure that they are medically fit and competent to drive, and that any health concerns that may affect the individual’s ability to drive safely are reported immediately.
Transport for NSW requires commercial drivers of both passenger and heavy vehicles to regularly undergo medical tests to identify potential physical, behavioural or cognitive issues that may pose a safety risk to themselves and others while they are driving.
NSW regulations around commercial drivers and Fitness to Drive Medicals
Commercial drivers include:
- Public transport drivers – i.e., individuals who are currently authorised, or have applied for an authority, to transport public passengers for hire or reward (e.g., bus drivers, taxi drivers, chauffeurs, drivers of hire cars and small buses, etc.)
- Drivers carrying dangerous goods
- Heavy vehicle drivers – i.e., any individual who currently holds, or has applied for, an MR (Medium Rigid), HR (Heavy Rigid), HC (Heavy Combination) or MC (Multi Combination) licence
- Drivers subject to requirements for Basic of Advanced Fatigue Management under the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme,
- Other drivers who may also be required to meet commercial vehicle standards in accordance with the certification criteria of an authorising body, or are subject to specific industry standards (e.g., members of Trucksafe, driving instructors, etc.)
Commercial drivers are subject to higher medical standards because of the number of hours they spend on the road and the complexity of their roles, i.e., driving vehicles that are difficult to drive and manoeuvre, and the need to monitor multiple vehicle functions.
Medical standards for commercial drivers are based on an evaluation of the risk that commercial vehicle crashes pose to driver, passenger and public safety (including that of other drivers, cyclists, pedestrians, and residents adjacent to the road), particularly considering the potential for chemical spillage, fire and significant damage to property.
To meet the requirements of the medical standards outlined in the ‘Assessing Fitness to Drive 2016’ publication, produced by Austroads and the National Transport Commission (NTC), all commercial drivers must be assessed and certified as “fit to drive” by a suitably qualified healthcare professional.
Frequency of Fitness to Drive Medical Assessments
Fitness to Drive Medical assessments must be undertaken periodically, at certain ages and intervals. Drivers in most states are required to make a medical self-declaration in relation to their fitness to drive at licence application and renewal, but commercial drivers are also subject to specific requirements set by various overseeing agencies.
Commercial drivers accredited under Basic Fatigue Management (BFM) and Advanced Fatigue Management (AFM) must, as a minimum, undergo medical and sleep disorder assessments:
- once every three years for drivers aged 49 or under,
- yearly for drivers aged 50 or over.
The regulations for vision tests, medical assessments and road tests vary from state to state and depending on licence/driver type and age, so it is important for commercial drivers and their employers to be aware of the standards and criteria applicable to the individual driver.
Medical conditions to be assessed in a Fitness to Drive Medical Assessment
Fitness to Drive Medical Assessments evaluate medical conditions that are considered to have the potential to affect an individual’s ability to perform safely in a commercial driving capacity include:
- Vision problems
- Hearing loss and deafness
- Blackouts, fainting or other sudden periods of unconsciousness
- Musculoskeletal conditions
- Neurological conditions
- Epilepsy or other seizures (commercial drivers generally need to have been seizure-free for 10 years before a conditional licence may be issued)
- Dementia/early onset dementia
- Other neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions that may impact the functions required for safe driving, e.g., impairments to attention, concentration, judgement, reaction time, coordination, muscle power and visuospatial perception
- Cardiovascular conditions, e.g., heart disease or stroke
- Sleep disorders, e.g., sleep apnoea, narcolepsy, chronic fatigue
- Psychiatric disorders (and impairments related to medication)
- Substance misuse (e.g., illicit drug use, misuse of prescription and over-the-counter drugs, alcohol use/abuse), including chronic use and/or recent consumption.
How can Hayden Health & Safety help you meet your Fitness to Drive obligations as a commercial driver or transport company?
Hayden Health & Safety is fully accredited to conduct NSW Fitness to Drive Medical assessments and offer a thorough, efficient, and non-disruptive testing solution to ensure commercial drivers are fit for duty and don’t pose a risk to themselves and others on the road.
Hayden Health & Safety Fitness to Drive Medical Assessments are conducted by experienced doctors who are skilled in the identification of health conditions, treatments or substance use or misuse issues that may impede upon an individual’s motor or cognitive function, or sensory perception, and affect their ability to drive safely.
Our Fitness to Drive Medical assessments enable commercial drivers and their employers to establish base levels of auditory, visual, neurological and musculoskeletal function, monitor their fitness to drive over time, and identify any potential hazards, issues or liabilities before they become problematic.
Hayden Health & Safety Fitness to Drive Medical Assessment Services
Hayden Health & Safety can conduct Fitness to Drive Medical assessments as part of pre-employment testing processes, or periodically, in line with your organisation’s policies and procedures or identified needs, as well as the requirements of licensing authorities and applicable industry standards. Our Fitness to Drive Medical assessments can be combined with any other testing services offered by Hayden Health & Safety, with testing programs being fully-customisable to your unique requirements.
Our specially designed, fully contained mobile testing vehicle can visit your site anywhere in NSW and conduct testing in a systematic way that suits your business needs. Alternatively, individuals can be booked in for testing at our office, conveniently located in Cardiff NSW.