By their very nature, a drive medical can be a frustrating experience for an individual.
It can feel like trying to pass a provisional license all over again, only this time the physical or mental condition of the citizen comes into question.
That can be a stressful moment, but the ability to have a license and maneuver on public roads is a privilege and not a right that is afforded to everyone.
In that respect, it is worthwhile taking stock of what parameters and criteria exist to be afforded this license.
Eye Examination For Vision
Driver medicals will make the vision of the license holder a key priority. There is usually a simple pass or fail on this count, although some private drivers can receive a conditional license if they happen to suffer from monocular vision or there is impairments under certain light conditions. Optometrists can submit assessments online to the Roads and Maritime department, but in order for these medical practitioners to ensure that they are fit for the road, they need to hit certain targets. Within NSW, horizontal vision must extend to 110 degrees with a 10-degree margin. This will speak to the peripheral vision for an individual as they have to be able to demonstrate a capacity to scan traffic in front of them, in the side mirrors, rearview mirror and across the side windows as well. These examinations will be scheduled annually for 75 years of age and over and every 5 years from 45 and onwards.
Physical Capacity To Drive
The physical capacity of individuals on the road is paramount when running through driver medicals with an experienced practitioner. If there are limitations to movement where limbs are sore or incapacitated, to a loss of hearing or a struggle to turn around and look beyond the side mirror, then those points will be taken into consideration before a judgment is handed down. Disabled or incapacitated license holders are given some special provisions if their vehicle is altered and passed for safety requirements, yet these measures can be expensive and extend the process even further.
Much like young and inexperienced citizens who have to pass their tests inside their vehicle or through a digital simulation, some driver medicals will be a gauge of decision-making capabilities. This will speak to the judgment of the individual to see when they decide to merge into traffic, how long they should give way, when and how they reverse park, how much distance to leave the car travelling in front of them, avoiding pedestrians and maneuvering around intricate laneways, highways and trams in inner city environments. A doctor inside a practice won’t be able to make this determination, but if there is doubt around these capacities then they will recommend further examination on these counts. Decision-making will ultimately be affected if there are mental or cognitive deficiencies that hamper their ability to focus on the road and pass driver medicals. This can include cases of dementia, fainting or neurological and psychiatric disorders that are diagnosed by a medical professional.
The Desire/Need To Drive
Passing driver medicals is important for those members of the community who want that degree of independence and not to be limited in case they need to travel somewhere on short notice. However, when having an open dialogue with a trusted medical professional, the topic will emerge where the desire to drive and the need to do so will be brought up. If there is a wide range of assessments and provisions made that are costly and extensive, perhaps there are too many barriers to pass through and a form of public transport or the use of a taxi or Uber would be more suitable. If they are confident in passing the necessary requirements and are willing to embrace the process, then that won’t be a consideration.