Why Driving Matters?
- For most people, driving is one of the important part of their daily life for socialising, work and accessing everyday needs like shopping.
- Driving gives people independence – “you can go where you want, when you want”.
- Medical Fitness to Drive guideline highlights the need to appreciate and accept responsibility for managing health and medications for safe driving.
- Doctor may advise the impact of health and medications on driving and it is our responsibility not to drive, if we ever feel unfit to do so.
As a responsible driver:
- We should follow doctor’s advice
- Do not ignore signs of conditions which may make you unfit and unsafe to drive. For example, not driving when feel dizzy/ or light-headed, or if you are a diabetic and feel hypoglycaemic.
Driver fitness is governed by EU law and regulations made in Ireland under the Road Traffic Acts.
What is a Medical Fitness To Drive assessment?
- It is medical assessment of a person’s driving abilities.
- It involves the expertise of Medical Doctor, Occupational Therapist, On-Road Driving Assessor (ORDA), other health professionals (Physiotherapist, Optometrist etc.) and NDLS (National Driver Licence Service).
Who might need a Medical Fitness To Drive assessment (MFTD)?
List of conditions which may impact on driving fitness:
- Any medical or functional impairment which may impact driving ability
- Newly acquired disability
- Deteriorating or progressive medical condition(s)
- Age related changes
- Congenital disabilities
- 70 Years of age and over when applying for or renewing Driver Licence
- Concern raised by family members
Aim of Medical fitness to Drive
- To ensure you are able to continue driving safely.
- To reduce any driving-related road safety risks for the individual & the community due to driver’s permanent or long-term injury/ illness.
- To maintain the daily routine and independence.
How it is done?
- Referral to occupational therapist by General Physician (GP), Consultant , Public Health Nurse, any health professional, a prospective client or family member or friend when they are concerned about driving ability of client.
- Occupational therapist will make an appointment for Off-Road Driving Assessment and On-Road Driving Assessment and Intervention.
What to expect from Occupational Therapist?
- Occupational Therapist will do Off-Road Driving Skills Assessment.
- The assessment takes approximately 2.5 hours. It includes identification of individual’s abilities and needs through a mix of discussions/interview, observation, informal and formal assessments.
- An interview to obtain information regarding your driving history.
- Assessment of your physical ability.
- Assessment of higher mental functions such as reasoning, judgement, safety etc.
- In car assessment (stationary).
Occupational Therapist may refer you to the appropriate On-Road Driving Assessor.
On-Road Driving Assessment
- The On-Road driving assessment is carried out by a qualified driving assessor in your own car and usually in your own locality.
- The On-Road Driving Assessor will be assessing any concerns that Occupational Therapist may have identified from Pre-Driving Skills Assessment.
- You must have a current Driving Licence and up to date motor car insurance.
- On-Road Driving Assessor will provide a report to General Physician/Occupational therapist.
- On-Road Driving Assessor may also make recommendations for you to have additional driving lessons and/ or adaptations made to your car.
Remember, this is not a driving test but rather a general overview of your driving ability.