Senior drivers back new rules

John Morgan, 81, supports the changes.
John Morgan, 81, supports the changes. Darryn Smith

PLANNED changes to the state's licensing laws that will see drivers over 75 forced to undergo annual medical check-ups have been applauded by Sunshine Coast seniors and medical professionals.

All drivers aged 75 and over are already required to carry a valid medical certificate when behind the wheel, whether or not they have a medical condition.

The onus is on the driver to seek out a medical assessment and the doctor can determine whether a certificate would last for a few months or for up to five years.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson announced on Monday the Queensland Driver Licence Reform package, set to come into effect mid-2014, would require drivers aged 75 and over to renew their medical certificate on an annual basis.

"The committee felt an annual tick from their doctor would enable older drivers to monitor their health on a more regular basis and therefore improve road safety outcomes," he said.

"We have found older drivers are not over represented in crashes and I agree with the panel that there isn't a need to sit further driving tests once you reach 75."

Dicky Beach resident John Morgan, 80, said the reforms were a reasonable expectation to place on older drivers.

"I think it is a good idea. It's appropriate because people's reaction times don't get better as they get older," he said.

Mr Morgan, who has been driving for 63 years, still drives his Toyota Prius a couple of times a week but he recently made the decision to stop driving at night as he no longer felt comfortable.

Australian Medical Association Queensland GP representative Mason Stevenson said there was widespread support from practitioners for the licence reform.

"Mr Stevenson said there was a high level of responsibility on both the patient and the doctor to ensure the patient was safe to drive and these reforms would be safer for other road users.



Current rules for drivers 75 and older

  • Must only drive while carrying a current medical certificate for motor vehicle driving.
  • The length of the medical certificate is at the discretion of the driver's doctor.
  • A medical certificate may be issued for a few months or for up to five years.
  • If your doctor has recommended conditions for you when driving, your medical certificate must state those conditions.
  • Fines apply for driving outside the conditions of your licence.

The reform:

  • A maximum 12 month life for medical certificates for drivers aged 75 and over

Source: Queensland Transport

Topics:  elderly drivers road rules seniors

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