Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency regulates the people and vehicles that use our land transport system. Part of that role is to ensure that drivers are fit and competent to drive. When an individual has a medical condition that affects their ability to drive safely, they pose a risk to themselves and other road users.

As a health practitioner, you play a crucial role in keeping users of the land transport system safe.

What this means for you

Under section 18 of the Land Transport Act 1998 you must notify us if you believe that the mental or physical condition of a licence holder means that in the interest of public safety they should not be permitted to drive and are likely to continue to do so. This may be through your patient expressing their intention to drive despite instructions not to, or you consider they do not understand your advice. You do not have to prove your patient is driving or will continue to drive.

Additionally when providing a medical certificate required under clause 44A of the Land Transport (Driver Licensing) Rule 1999, such as when a patient applies for a licence or an endorsement, and you assess that your patient is medically unfit to drive, you must advise us of this in writing (regardless of whether your patient submits their application).

Commercial drivers

Even if your patient is fit to drive their personal car, they may not be fit to drive a commercial vehicle.

You must notify us if your patient holds a commercial licence as this licence may enable them to drive a heavy motor vehicle, carry passengers, be a driving instructor, testing officer or undertake vehicle recovery services.

The safety standards for commercial licence holders are more stringent than for private licence holders because of the increased time they spend on our roads as well as the severity of consequences in the event of an accident.

What you need to do

If you have a concern about your patient, please provide us with the following information:

  • A description of your patients mental or physical condition
  • How this affects their ability to drive
  • Your communications with your patient regarding their fitness to drive
  • Your concern that they are likely to drive.

Email the information to medical@nzta.govt.nz or fax us on 06 9536261 and include ‘section 18 notification’ in the subject line.

Privacy concerns

You may have concerns about breaching a patient’s privacy by disclosing their medical information to us. Under Section 18 of the Land Transport Act 1998 if you’re acting in good faith, you’re not liable to civil or professional liability if you disclose personal medical information to Waka Kotahi.

Section 18 of the Act requires disclosure of a patient’s data if they have a medical condition affecting their ability to drive and they are likely to drive. It’s important that you report this to help prevent and reduce the risks to public safety.

What we do with the information provided

When we receive a section 18 notification, we have several options. These include:

  • Revoking the licence which means they are unable to drive
  • Requiring the licence holder to undergo further assessment
  • Imposing conditions or limitations on the licence.

We communicate directly with the licence holder when we receive a section 18 notification. The information disclosed to us will only be used to determine an individual’s fitness to drive and will not be disclosed to any other party or individual. We’ll only disclose your notification in accordance with the Privacy Act.

Medical aspects of fitness to drive

For information on your obligations under the Act, and guidance to help assess individual cases please refer to the following guide:

Medical aspects of fitness to drive – A guide for health practitioners [PDF, 1.8 MB]

You can also contact us on 0800 822 422 or by email medical@nzta.govt.nz