RACQ backs calls for more clarity for GPs to assess older drivers

RACQ has backed a call for additional guidance to be given to doctors who assess whether older people are still able to safely drive.

The Brisbane Times reported a group of GP’s had written an article in the Medical Journal of Australia that outlined doctors needed a clearer framework across the country and a ‘toolkit’ validated for use in general practice, to help decide if older people were fit to drive.

RACQ Head of Technical and Safety Policy Steve Spalding said more clarity for doctors would be valuable and an opportunity to improve licence medical assessments.

“Taking away someone’s licence is a difficult issue, but road safety has to be the priority,” Mr Spalding said.

“In Queensland, anyone who is over 75 years old and holds a driver licence must carry a current medical certificate at all times when driving and you must go back to your doctor every year.

“The more feedback doctors can provide on what information they need, or how they could better make decisions, will help shape the training options available to them.”

Mr Spalding said it was important doctors also worked with the older driver’s family to help with the change.

“Information on alternative transport options, or lifestyle changes can also help with the transition of no longer driving.

“Ultimately the decision to hang up your keys can be a difficult conversation for some family’s to have, but it’s about the safety of your family member and the safety of others on the road.”