Where a person has a medical condition that affects their ability to drive safely, they are a risk to other road users as well as themselves. While difficult to quantify, medical conditions are a contributing factor in crashes that cause death and injury on New Zealand roads.
As a practitioner, you play an important role in helping to reduce the risk of harm on the roads by determining whether a person is fit to drive.
Who must have a medical certificate?
Some drivers must have a medical or eyesight certificate to apply for or renew a driver licence or endorsement – drivers who:
- are applying for or renewing a heavy vehicle licence (class 2,3,4,5) and who’ve not provided a certificate within the last five years
- are applying for or renewing endorsements for passengers (P), vehicle recovery services (V), driving instruction (I) or testing (O) and who’ve not provided a certificate within the last five years
- have a medical condition that may affect their ability to drive safely
- are 75 years old or more and applying for or renewing any licence or endorsement
- we have asked to provide one.
The evidence we require is a medical or eyesight certificate:
- supplied by New Zealand registered health practitioner(optometrists, ophthalmologists, general practitioners, registered nurses, nurse practitioners, neurologists and occupational therapist driving assessors)
- not more than 60 days old.
Use the guide for medical assessments
Placing licensing restrictions on a driver is a serious matter. But so are the consequences of allowing someone to continue to drive if they are unfit to do so.
We’ve produced Medical aspects of fitness to drive: a guide for health practitioners [PDF, 1.7 MB] to set out your responsibilities and guide you in assessing a person’s fitness to drive.
Have concerns about an older driver?
If you’re satisfied that an older person (75 years+) is medically fit but have concerns about their ability to drive safely, you can recommend that they sit an On-road Safety Test.
Simply tick the box for this recommendation on the NZ Transport Agency pre-printed medical form. The driver licensing agent will then arrange the test when the person presents their medical certificate.
Conditions you can recommend
You can recommend conditions to be imposed on a driver’s licence to improve their driving safety. Commonly imposed conditions include:
- Correcting lenses must be worn at all times while driving.
- Only vehicles with an automatic transmission may be driven.
- Vehicle must have rear view mirrors on both sides.
- Must not drive during the hours of darkness.
We’re here to help
While you have a responsibility for making recommendations about licence conditions, we have the responsibility of imposing them. If you have any concerns about a particular case, please write to our Chief Medical Adviser at the Transport Agency's Palmerston North Office