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Driver Safety for Older Australians

Concerns Surrounding Driver Safety for Older Australians Increases as They Age Due to Many and Varying Factors

Driver safety for older Australians, and the safety of other road users are considerations. Other considerations include their current ability to drive. Nobody wants to lose the independence that comes with having a drivers licence.

The driver’s licensing in each state of Australia however, has laws that vary regarding older Australians. In some states you’re required to have a medical clearance and obtain a special medical certificate each year, in order to continue to drive after the age of 75. In other parts of Australia you can continue to drive as long as it’s safe to do so. Please check with your state department of transport for their specific laws:

Queensland Department of TransportTasmania’s Department of State Growth: Transport
NSW Roads and Maritime ServicesWA Department of Transport
Vic RoadsNT Driving and Transport
Tasmania’s Department of State Growth: TransportACT Transport

Health Changes Impacting on Driving Ability

Many people become concerned about their ageing family member when it comes to driving. There are however many factors to consider. First, many older Australians are more than capable of continuing to drive on the road. If you’re concerned about your driving or that of a loved one, look out for signs, and consider visiting your doctor.

Some of the signs to look for might include a change in their memory. Do they get lost or forget where they’re going? Are there health concerns regarding your loved one? For example, is there shortness of breath on exertion or changes to their vision or balance? If so, you could approach the subject of driver safety with them in a respectful manner, and accompany them to visit their doctor to discuss driver safety and any health concerns further.

lady white haired driving dark blue car

Alternative Transport

Many older Australians drive a vehicle and appreciate the independence that goes along with having a licence.

If you become concerned about your ageing family member or friend’s driving ability, consider finding out about alternative transport options for them. This will help them to get to the places that they frequently attend, in order for them to maintain their activities of daily living and social interactions.

Maintaining Independence

Encouraging seniors that recently relinquished their drivers licence to remain independent with activities of daily living is important.

You could contact the local council to see if they’re eligible for taxi vouchers. Often people receiving government benefits receive discounts when taking public transport too.

Consider helping your loved one with transportation or arranging for another family member or friend to do so.  This will encourage social interaction and reduce the risks associated with social isolation.

Including Transport in a Home Care Package

If your loved one’s receiving a home care package they can include transport services into their package of care. This might apply for the Commonwealth Home Support Programme too.

Encourage your loved one to discuss this option with their service provider if they want to.

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