As a Queensland driver licence holder, you are required to promptly tell the department of any long-term or permanent medical condition that is likely to adversely affect your ability to drive safely.
You must tell the department as soon as a condition develops or if there is a long-term increase to an existing condition. You cannot wait until you renew your licence.
When applying for a Queensland driver licence, you must tell the department of any medical condition that may adversely affect your ability to drive safely.
You may need a medical certificate confirming your fitness to drive. Your health professional may also recommend that your licence be subject to conditions.
Your health professional will refer to the private and commercial medical standards for driving in the Assessing Fitness to Drive publication. These standards are recognised by all Australian driver licensing authorities.
If you fail to report your condition, you may receive a A$6600 penalty and be disqualified from driving.
Note: Drivers 75 years of age or older must hold a valid medical certificate at all times. There is more information on the holding your licence after you've turned 75 web page.
Some medical conditions that may affect driving (Note: this list is not exhaustive)
Some medical conditions that can adversely affect your ability to drive safely include:
- blackouts or fainting
- diabetes (early and late onset)
- eye problems (for example, cataracts)
- hearing problems
- heart disease
- psychiatric disorders
- sleep disorders
- alcohol or drug dependency.
Other medical conditions, or combinations of conditions, may also be relevant. The Assessing Fitness to Drive for Commercial and Private Vehicle Drivers provides guidelines to assist health professionals determine a person's medical fitness to drive and is available to download from the Austroads website.
Who is a health professional?
A health professional can be a doctor, occupational therapist, optometrist, or physiotherapist. Health professionals are qualified to check if you are medically fit to drive. If required, they will provide you with a medical certificate or official letter stating your fitness to drive.
How do I notify the department?
The department recommends you talk to your health professional about your ability to drive safely. You may need a medical certificate confirming your fitness to drive.
You can notify the department about any long-term or permanent medical condition that adversely affects your ability to drive safely, or if there is a change in an existing condition that affects your ability to drive:
If you are required to provide a medical certificate you may download the Medical Certificate for Motor Vehicle Driver (form F3712) for completion by your health professional.
What if I drive a vehicle to earn a living?
If you drive heavy vehicles, public passenger vehicles (e.g. buses or taxis) or vehicles carrying dangerous goods, you must meet the commercial medical standards in the Assessing Fitness to Drive publication. These standards are more stringent than private standards and reflect the increased risk associated with motor vehicle crashes involving such vehicles.
Despite having a medical condition, with treatment and regular review, you may be able to continue to drive such vehicles under a conditional licence.
When I declare my medical condition, how will my licence be affected?
How your licence is affected by the declaration of your medical condition depends on the condition itself and the recommendations of your health professional. For example, your health professional may suggest limitations or restrictions to your driving such as daylight driving only or driving an automatic car only.
Your licence may be:
- amended to include a condition. (For example, a code ‘M’ may be added to indicate that you must only drive while carrying, and in accordance with a current medical certificate.)
If your medical condition means you cannot drive anymore, you should surrender your licence.
Do I have to carry a medical certificate with me?
If you have a code 'M' on your licence, or if you are 75 years of age or older, you must carry a current medical certificate stating that you are medically fit to drive and show the certificate to a police officer when asked to do so.
You must also comply with any conditions or restrictions stated on that medical certificate.
If you are required to carry, and drive in accordance with a medical certificate and you fail to do so, you may be given an on the spot fine of $110 and incur one demerit point. Alternatively, if the matter goes before a court, you may be fined up to $2200.
How long does my medical certificate last?
How long your medical certificate lasts depends on:
- your medical condition
- how often your medical condition needs to be monitored.
This is a decision that only your health professional can make. A medical certificate may be issued for a few months or for up to five years.
You will still be eligible to apply for a driver licence that lasts for up to five years, regardless of how long your medical certificate is issued for. However you must ensure you only drive while carrying, and in accordance with a current medical certificate.
Fines apply for driving without holding a current medical certificate and driving outside the conditions of your licence.
What action may the department take if I’m medically unfit to drive?
Your licence may be amended, suspended for a period of time or cancelled. If your licence is cancelled, you must surrender it to the department.
If you do not agree with the department’s decision, you may ask for it to be reconsidered or apply to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) for a review of the decision.
If you continue to drive while your licence is suspended or cancelled, you may receive a $4400 penalty or be imprisoned for up to one year.
If you fail to notify the department that you have a permanent, long-term medical condition which is likely to adversely affect your ability to drive safely you may receive a $6600 penalty and your driver licence may be cancelled.
What if I continue to drive once my licence has been suspended or cancelled?
You would be driving unlicensed and committing an offence. Queensland law contains substantial penalties for people who drive without a current driver licence.
Can health professionals report patients who are medically unfit to drive?
If your health professional has given you advice and is concerned that it may be ignored, or they feel that your condition poses a risk to public safety, they are encouraged to tell the department.
Health professionals are afforded protection from liability for providing information in good faith about a person's medical fitness to hold, or continue to hold, a Queensland driver licence.
What happens if the department receives information from a health professional stating that a person is unfit to drive?
The department may suspend or cancel the person’s Queensland driver licence, or withdraw their authority to drive in Queensland if they are a non-Queensland licence holder.
What other steps are being taken to ensure all Queensland drivers are fit to drive?
The department is working with health professionals to increase their patients' awareness of the impacts of medical conditions on their ability to drive.
The Assessing Fitness to Drive for Commercial and Private Vehicle Drivers details medical standards for driver licensing purposes for use by health professionals and driver licensing authorities. In March 2012, new medical standards come into effect for drivers of private and commercial vehicles. The standards are contained in the document Assessing Fitness to Drive 2012, which replaces the previous standards (Assessing Fitness to Drive 2003). The 2012 edition was a result of an intensive consultation and review process to ensure that driver health is assessed against relevant medical standards and that a driver’s health status does not increase their crash risk.