201 Elizabeth Street
Sydney NSW 2000
99 William Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
231 North Quay
Brisbane QLD 4000
1 Farrell Place
Canberra ACT 2601
Contact Armstrong Legal:
Sydney: (02) 9261 4555
The RMS (RTA) will usually suspend or cancel a person’s drivers licence if it becomes aware that they have a medical condition that could affect their driving. The person can appeal against this decision.
You are legally required to notify the RMS as soon as practicable about any "permanent or long term injury or illness that may impair your ability to drive safely."
Failure to notify the RMS would have significant consequences if you are involved in an accident as a result of the condition. A person who is aware that they are suffering from a medical condition that impacts their driving, but chooses to continue driving, would be held to a much higher level of criminal responsibility should anything go wrong.
The RMS can require the holder of a drivers licence to undergo a medical examination to confirm their medical fitness to drive.
The RMS can specify the particular doctor that they want to complete the examination.
They can also require you to undertake a practical driving test and complete a knowledge test to demonstrate your ability to drive safely.
The RMS can cancel or suspend your licence if you fail or refuse to undergo a test.
All of the above assessments can be required at any time (not just when you apply for your licence).
The RMS is guided by the Assessing Fitness to Drive Guidelines published by Austroads.
A copy of the publication can be found here
The Assessing Fitness to Drive Guidelines set out the medical standards for maintaining a licence in relation to a variety of conditions. Some of the most common conditions are epilepsy, sleep disorders (e.g. sleep apnoea) and eyesight deterioration/blindness.
The Assessing Fitness to Drive Guidelines set out the medical standards for a person to hold an unconditional licence. If the person fails to meet that level, the Guidelines set out the medical standards that a person must meet to be issued with a conditional licence. If the person fails to meet the conditional licence standard, usually the RMS will take action to suspend or cancel their licence.
The RMS can cancel or suspend a person’s drivers licence if it appears that it would be dangerous for the person to drive a vehicle because of illness or incapacity.
The RMS must notify the person of this decision. The suspension or cancellation can operate immediately from the giving of that notice (i.e. the RMS does not need to provide a "warning period").
The RMS must tell the person the reasons for the suspension or cancellation, and what action the person can take to have the licence returned.
You can appeal to the Local Court against the suspension or cancellation of your licence on medical grounds.
Your appeal must be lodged within 28 days of notification of the suspension or cancellation. The law assumes you received the letter 4 working days after it is posted (even if that is not the case in fact).
If you miss the lodgement date you will not be able to appeal the decision.
Unfortunately, if you are suspended on medical grounds, you will not be able to drive while awaiting the appeal.
The Court can:
After your appeal has been lodged it is necessary to obtain sufficient medical evidence to satisfy the Local Court Magistrate that you meet the medical standards and are safe to drive. This can involve meeting with and obtaining reports from medical specialists. A lawyer can help you to decide what reports will assist your case.
In NSW, traffic offences are treated seriously. Therefore, it is important to get competent legal advice as early as possible, whether you have received a penalty notice, had your licence suspended or been charged with a serious offence. Our lawyers are highly experienced and understand the difficulties you face without a licence. We can guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.