Budget Direct, part of A&G Insurance Services, has revealed that there are many motorists on the road who don’t believe they should report medical conditions which affect their driving ability.Research figures recently released by leading low-cost car insurance Budget Direct reveal that 29% of motorists suffer from conditions that could affect their driving ability and 70% of these did not report their condition to the state road authority.
Budget Direct Spokesperson Richelle Ward said, “A driver’s health is vital to their ability to handle situations on the road. Conditions like diabetes, sleep disorders, heart disease and even hearing problems could be the catalyst for a serious accident.”
Motorists are concerned, with results showing that 47% stated it should be mandatory for doctors to report medical conditions to State road authorities, believing it could prevent major accidents.
The medical standards for licensing, which are approved by the Australian Transport Council, states that while under no obligation, doctors can voluntarily report a patient to the State Driver Licensing Authority if they are believed to pose a risk to road safety.
“There is much to be considered before mandatory reporting could take effect. A major concern is doctor/patient confidentially as it could prevent people from consulting a doctor for fear of losing their license. Most importantly there needs to be more awareness of the dangers of driving when suffering certain conditions and motorists need to take responsibility and consider other road users,” Ms Ward said.
Respondents were also asked if their doctor advised them of the dangers of driving to which 11% said they had to ask, 29% said they were not advised if they could drive, and a further 18% didn’t consult a doctor about their condition.
According to the road state authorities, the law requires you to notify them if a medical condition develops that may affect your ability to drive.
Another major concern is the number of people driving while taking prescription drugs. When not used responsibility, prescription drugs can affect a motorist’s ability to drive safely. Australian Drug Foundation CEO John Rogerson said it is important for people to be aware that certain medicines can reduce your ability to drive safely.
“It is difficult to know whether a particular medication will affect your driving. It is therefore important for drivers to speak to their doctor or pharmacist when they are taking any medication to make sure they know of any side effects which may impair their driving ability,” said Mr Rogerson.
Medical conditions which may affect driving include, but are not limited to, diabetes (early and late onset), epilepsy, heart disease, stroke, arthritis and other joint problems, eye problems (for example, cataracts), hearing disorders, sleep disorders, Parkinson’s disease and other neurological disorders, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, depression and other mental-health problems, lung disease and general injuries and disabilities