26th Feb 2019
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Experts call for national driving test for older Australians
Author: Ben Hocking
Experts call for national driving test

Researchers are calling for Australia’s system of managing driver retirement for people with dementia to be overhauled.

A University of Queensland (UQ) study found a lack of suitable screening and assessment measures remained an issue for General Practitioners.

Dr Theresa Scott of the UQ School of Psychology said the research revealed a number of complexities in the existing system.

“In Australia, as with most other countries, GPs are often the first medical professionals approached to identify changes in the functioning of their patients that would potentially impact on driving safety,” Dr Scott said.

“GPs tell us that advising patients about driving cessation is one of the most challenging aspects of clinical dementia care and the process can alter long-standing relationships with their patients.

“A standardised approach is needed to allow doctors to medically assess whether their patients are fit to drive.”

Dr Scott said other health professionals, as well as other related groups, also required programs to identify and assess driving capability.

“With limited information and prior training about how to evaluate fitness-to-drive in primary care, it is a poorly resourced area of clinical dementia care,” Dr Scott said.

“GPs are often under time constraints during consultations and they fear the negative effects on the doctor­–patient relationship if they are the sole decision-maker in removing someone’s mobility.

“To preserve this relationship, a system that gives the relevant licensing authority principal responsibility for determining a patient’s fitness to drive, while the GP assists in the referral and screening process, should be investigated.

“Similarly, community education and awareness about the impact of dementia on driving was identified as especially important for the person with dementia and their family members, to ensure acceptance of the decision to eventually cease driving.”

Are you worried about drivers with dementia on our roads? What do you think should be done to address the issue?

Read the full report.

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    COMMENTS

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    ozrog
    27th Feb 2019
    10:57am
    Here we go again targeting older Australians first their home to be included in the assets test now their independence. Just leave it to the doctors.
    tj
    27th Feb 2019
    11:18am
    ''leave it to the doctors'' Don't make me laugh .I took my dad (80 plus) to his local gp for his assessment for his renewal to drive .
    Had to physically help him into the doctors room sat him down in a chair with some effort ,doctor said hi Stan ,didn't examine him in any way ,not even an eye test on his one eye he had left simply tick and flick and sent him on his merry way
    Sen.Cit.90
    27th Feb 2019
    11:20am
    Ozrog, I agree with you. The last statistics that I read stated 27% of accidents had older drivers involved; that leaves 73% of accidents with younger drivers involved!!!
    Sen.Cit.90
    27th Feb 2019
    11:28am
    tj, No way could your experience be the norm. My Doctor examines me at least three times per year, the third one covering all aspects including 'mental test) before signing my Doctors cert to drive. On top of this, I have my optometrist annual eye test just before including the driving cert test.
    jackie
    27th Feb 2019
    11:34am
    ozrog...The test will cost money of course....this is just another excuse to make money and relieve road congestion.

    Everyone above a certain age will have to pay up to prove they a capable of driving. An added expense to pensioners once again.
    jackie
    27th Feb 2019
    12:29pm
    tj....It sounds like your dear old dad no longer drives if you have to drive him to the doctor anyway. His doctor should be struck off the medical registrar for not doing his job properly. I hope you reported him.
    Strummer
    28th Feb 2019
    8:03am
    Therein lies the problem. Some people are receiving meaningful tests and some aren't. Also, interesting stats from Sen.Cit.89 - 27% of accidents involve old drivers yet people over 65 are just 15% of the population according to the AIHW.
    Strummer
    28th Feb 2019
    8:03am
    Therein lies the problem. Some people are receiving meaningful tests and some aren't. Also, interesting stats from Sen.Cit.89 - 27% of accidents involve old drivers yet people over 65 are just 15% of the population according to the AIHW.
    Irish lassie
    28th Feb 2019
    12:09pm
    I had to do a test at 75 and passed. GP got me to lie down and raise legs one at a time and then get up and touch my toes. That was it.
    Now I heard it has been abandoned.

    No test except for the IMHO weak one that most young drivers have passed.

    Why? Because they are the worst on the road - having no regard at all for others and not bothering to follow the rules such as they are.
    ie in my hilly area they just drive straight without following the curves - and you have to get out of their way.
    pedro the swift
    27th Feb 2019
    11:01am
    How about proper driving tests for new learners. I doubt wether current driver testing is rigorous enough to prepare learners to drive safely on our roads as traffic increases.
    BERRYUPSET
    27th Feb 2019
    11:14am
    EH PEDRO!
    BUENOS DIAS..
    TOTALLY AGREE....ONCE THEYVE PASSED BAD NEWS!
    OLA
    AL
    jackie
    27th Feb 2019
    11:54am
    pedro the swift... Australian driving tests are the most stringent in the world. Our roads are full of new arrivals that have never had a driving lesson in Australia. They are the greatest cause of road accidents.
    Coachman on the box
    27th Feb 2019
    1:16pm
    That's utter bullshit, Jackie. Australia has some of the most aggressive, selfish drivers I've ever come across - usually young white males, although there are some pretty pigheaded old jerks out there, too. It's an attitude thing and it's almost uniquely Australian - me first at any cost. I've very rarely seen what I take to be 'new arrivals' behaving in the same way. Cautious, maybe nervous, but never utterly selfish and frankly disinterested in the safety of others on the roads.
    Aussie
    27th Feb 2019
    4:11pm
    jackie ... In Australia to get a licence is ok to be a colour blind and have a slow visual reactions and distant acceptance ...... in Thailand and other countries that I have been to be able to get a licence you must pass the colour test and visual distance reaction for safety

    The colour test is done by identifying colours on a chart over and over in different positions on different charts with small medium and large dots ...

    The Reaction test is done by pushing a digital accelerator and they pops up a car in front of you and you have to push the digital break ..... that way they test your visual reactions

    The 3th test is to level two sticks in parallel from a 8 meters distance

    All this test plus a theoretical, driving and parking tests

    You must pass all test and the theoretical with a minimum of 95% of correct answers

    We only do test drive in Australia and simple side parking including the use of blinkers, basic road signalling and easy computer test ..... that is all that is why every dong gets a licence and for those that come from overseas probably they never driven a car on their own countries .... so yes that is a problem because no experience at all ...
    inextratime
    1st Mar 2019
    12:32am
    Coachman. Don't know where you live but in my neck of the wood you have to drive with eyes in the back of your head. And guess what, most of the drivers who have no idea how to drive, appear to come from the same country and its not Australia. Maybe its a coincidence but whenever the driver in front doesn't use an indicator, leaves four car spaces ahead when turning right at the lights, has difficulty in reverse parking etc, 90% of the time I can predict the origin of the driver.
    inextratime
    1st Mar 2019
    12:32am
    Coachman. Don't know where you live but in my neck of the wood you have to drive with eyes in the back of your head. And guess what, most of the drivers who have no idea how to drive, appear to come from the same country and its not Australia. Maybe its a coincidence but whenever the driver in front doesn't use an indicator, leaves four car spaces ahead when turning right at the lights, has difficulty in reverse parking etc, 90% of the time I can predict the origin of the driver.
    Chris B T
    27th Feb 2019
    11:13am
    Mandatory Driving Tests every 20 years after first issue of licence, old and young.
    No discrimination/ageism and review of driving record.
    BERRYUPSET
    27th Feb 2019
    11:15am
    GOOD IDEA ..TOTALLY AGREE!
    jackie
    27th Feb 2019
    11:44am
    Chris B T ....The AAA wants the government to implement a Road User Charge on all vehicles, with all funds to be reinvested in road infrastructure. I remember they were thinking of this back in the 80s as a way to deal with population growth. Now they are trying to implement it.

    Mandatory Driving tests every 20 years will just be a waste of time.
    Chris B T
    27th Feb 2019
    12:00pm
    It removes all Discrimination/Ageism.
    A waste of time for Good Drivers Yes but statics show otherwise.
    Singling out Older Drivers who are not the over represented in Bad Driving Statics.
    Would be equally Waste of Time.
    Road Rules are amended and added too, at licence renewal you don't receive a new Booklet on Road Rules or any changes.
    jackie
    27th Feb 2019
    12:07pm
    Chris BT....Drivers aged 80 or over in Western Australia are required to have annual medical assessments before they can renew their licence.

    This could be applicable nationally.

    It's a drivers responsibility to be up to date with all road laws. The same for the car maintenance. Drivers can regularly go to RTA site to keep up to date.
    Chris B T
    27th Feb 2019
    2:29pm
    How is a Medical Test/Examination have anything to do with a Driving Test!!!
    Road Rules are not common to Every State and can be altered without you being a where of change.
    At least by giving you up to Pamphlets/Rule Book at Licence Renewal you can't deny the Change.
    outlander
    27th Feb 2019
    11:29am
    As if young and middle aged drivers do such a splendid job of driving. YES, if someone has dementia take them of the road.
    jackie
    27th Feb 2019
    11:50am
    outlander....I am sure they are not allowed to drive. They can't remember to turn off their stoves let alone drive a car.

    There are many old adults on medication that should not be driving though but then there are many young adult driving on illicit drugs. So it's discriminatory especially when the majority of old adults see doctors more often than young adults.
    Old Geezer
    27th Feb 2019
    12:09pm
    Way too many people on our road that are too tired to drive as well.
    Old Geezer
    27th Feb 2019
    12:09pm
    Way too many people on our road that are too tired to drive as well.
    jackie
    27th Feb 2019
    12:14pm
    Old Geezer....I agree. Blame massive work exploitation and conditions thanks to three decades of union bashing.
    Paicey58
    27th Feb 2019
    11:31am
    It is desperately needed. We all know someone who really shouldn’t be driving anymore. The system at the moment allows them to stay on the road where they are either going to kill themselves or worse someone else.
    jackie
    27th Feb 2019
    12:00pm
    Paicey58....Are you talking about Prince Phillip?

    Drivers aged 80 or over in Western Australia are required to have annual medical assessments before they can renew their licence. All the states could do the same.
    Arvo
    27th Feb 2019
    11:33am
    Older Australian drivers? A young man 26-years old was doing his regular burn-out in our street leaving his signature of black tyre tracks of rubber on the roadway except on this occasion he lost control, smashed into a neighbours fence and done a runner back onto his property. Police were called, 2 sedans and a paddy wagon. they got him!
    It's not only elderly people who might suffer from dementia, seems that a lot of young people suffer from it much more!

    Dictionary result for dementia
    noun-MEDICINE
    a chronic or persistent disorder of the mental processes caused by brain disease or injury and marked by memory disorders, personality changes, and impaired reasoning.
    rtrish
    27th Feb 2019
    11:44am
    Whether it's the doctor or some other organisation, this needs to be taken more seriously. As a passenger I've had some near-misses with family or friends driving, which really scares me. I have chosen not to be a passenger with those friends now. But I worry about the potential for them still to be driving.
    Old Geezer
    27th Feb 2019
    12:07pm
    I find the younger members of my family are the worse drivers to be in the car with and they have me on edge with their aggressive driving.
    jackie
    27th Feb 2019
    12:10pm
    rtrish....If they never had an accident...it's most likely they won't. When drivers lose their confidence they give up.
    Old Man
    27th Feb 2019
    11:49am
    I'm worried about a lot of drivers on the road and I drive defensively because of that. Dementia is just a very small part of driver error. Other problems include inattention, lack of knowledge of road rules, speeding, drink driving, drug taking, sleep apnoea and inexperience. Why place the onus on the family doctor for making people hand in their licences and why target one small part of the problem?
    Old Geezer
    27th Feb 2019
    12:05pm
    The biggest issue with driving is that way too many people are tired due to lack of sleep these days. They drive as though the speed limit is the minimum, way to close to other vehicles, too impatient and take too many risks.

    Only the other day I had a truckie ask me on the 2 way was I OK as someone had tried to cut me off and I had to take aversive action. He told me that he comes across that 2 or 3 times a day and reckons many people have a death wish.
    Arvo
    27th Feb 2019
    12:14pm
    "many people have a death wish"?.So do many bully truckies even when you are driving in the left lane at less than 110 km/h.
    jackie
    27th Feb 2019
    12:22pm
    Old Man....I think the biggest cause of accidents are drivers with a total disregard for the law. That's because there is a lack of police presence on the roads and more cars than ever.


    Most accidents are caused by international visitors and new arrivals to the country. They all should get an Australian licence.
    Old Man
    27th Feb 2019
    12:46pm
    I agree about the lack of police, jackie. We keep being told that the numbers of police are satisfactory but we are never told about the numbers of available police. Those on recreation leave, sick leave, stress leave and compensation are included in the figures that the public is given. Highway Patrol police are taken off their normal duties to fill in at police stations when there is a shortage which gives motorists a free run.

    I don't agree with you as regards international visitors causing most accidents. In my experience international visitors who self drive are few and far between.
    Coachman on the box
    27th Feb 2019
    1:26pm
    Old Man, defensive driving should be the norm. I was taught it when I first got my licence too many years ago to remember and later in the military. Is it taught nowadays as the correct way to behave on the roads? If it is, it's soon forgotten by what I see in a large number of drivers of all ages. Anyone convicted of dangerous, or reckless behaviour on the road, whether deliberate or as a result of impairment from whatever cause (drink driving, for example) should have to retake both the written and practical tests again before they're allowed back on the roads among us. It happens with a pilot's licence and I'm damned sure there are more fatalities and serious injuries on the roads than in the skies.
    Old Geezer
    27th Feb 2019
    12:01pm
    Would you trust a doctor? I certainly don't.
    musicveg
    27th Feb 2019
    3:31pm
    No I don't all they want is to give you a pill, they are not trained in anything else. They work for the sickness industry not the health industry.
    patti
    27th Feb 2019
    12:12pm
    I wouldn't have a problem with an annual test, just about to turn 75 and have had my assessment from the GP. I know my reaction times are not always as good as they were, and drive to make allowances for that. Otherwise I am OK. I think I will know when I'm becoming a risk, and an annual test will help that decision
    Priscilla
    27th Feb 2019
    12:25pm
    The majority of crashes/accidents are not caused by older drivers. You just have to watch television/news to see how many houses are trashed and accidents caused by younger people.
    maelcolium
    27th Feb 2019
    12:27pm
    Statistics are overwhelming that the vast majority of traffic infringements and vehicle accidents are within the under 45 age group and the majority of that group in under 25 years of age.
    Drivers over a certain age are already tested by a medical professional.

    Nothing to see here. Move on.
    KSS
    27th Feb 2019
    12:34pm
    More click bait headlining here.

    This article has nothing to do with a driving test for older adults, but everything to do with a health assessment to ascertain fitness to drive - a very different proposition.

    However, given driving in different states and territories is subjected to different rules and regulations, I suggest 'they' start with standardising the driving tests and licenses across the country than worrying about some sort of standardised assessment of mental and physical capacity to drive (something A GP should already know how to do).
    Irish lassie
    28th Feb 2019
    12:31pm
    @KSS best idea yet.
    I have taken a UK driving test as well as an WA driving test. I can tell you for certain that the UK test which is same allover is the toughest of the 2. I also took a defensive driving test in the Army as well as in civvy street later for insurance discount in UK. now that was a very good experience and made me a better driver. And made the tough UK test seem less so.

    A universal test like that would be beneficial for Australia and also anyone arriving here should also have to pass it and not get a pass if they show have a driving licence from elsewhere.

    Surely would make our roads that much safer with one standard and that should apply to testers. These days they get the blame for young driver who dont follow any rules just drive selfishly using their phones with no regard as think themselves immortal.

    And yes anyone with dementia probably cant drive anyway but GP's should report this as a matter of urgency.
    ronloby
    27th Feb 2019
    12:47pm
    Could have shown an "Aussie" driver in an righthand drive car!
    ronloby
    27th Feb 2019
    12:47pm
    Could have shown an "Aussie" driver in an righthand drive car!
    Coachman on the box
    27th Feb 2019
    1:08pm
    Why does the illustration show a left hand drive vehicle? Deliberate reversal? No shots of old biddies driving rhd vehicles, or just lazy researchers who couldn't be bothered to look further than the first shot they came to? Actually, I think it's time this country changed over to lhd anyway.
    Troubadour
    27th Feb 2019
    1:11pm
    Yes so many of today's younger drivers do not obey the basic rules of the driving test/code book. Only yesterday we had a young driver pull in front of us whilst we were going through traffic lights - right in front of us in the middle of the intersection! That was one of the first things my instructor told me NEVER change lanes when going through traffic lights. Then he proceeded to weave in and out of the traffic.
    Regarding medical tests - Demetia is a different case to normal general health. Our Dr. gives us a thorough check up including eye test and looks back at our health history over the year.
    Troubadour
    27th Feb 2019
    1:11pm
    Yes so many of today's younger drivers do not obey the basic rules of the driving test/code book. Only yesterday we had a young driver pull in front of us whilst we were going through traffic lights - right in front of us in the middle of the intersection! That was one of the first things my instructor told me NEVER change lanes when going through traffic lights. Then he proceeded to weave in and out of the traffic.
    Regarding medical tests - Demetia is a different case to normal general health. Our Dr. gives us a thorough check up including eye test and looks back at our health history over the year.
    Wen
    27th Feb 2019
    2:23pm
    I am 77 I had my drivers license health check just last week as the Qld law stipulates
    I passed with flying colours I was in the nurses office for over an hour then the Dr signs off on it They tested my eyes, reflexes, cognitive responses memory, all my body functions Even wanted to know how things are at home do I need help with anything What sort of community service we do if any, what exercise I get each week. It was very thorough I do keep myself fairly fit walks 3-4 times a week and have been doing yoga for 51 years So my Dr's clinic is very good in looking after everyone in this area. But not all Doctors are as thorough as this But I still think it is a little discriminatory as I believe the younger ages 18-40 have more accidents than our age group
    Joey
    27th Feb 2019
    2:30pm
    I took my 85 year old mother to Dr for her medical and Dr just filled it out and told her not to drive of a night time. (Mum was already in the early stages of dementia) After a few months when i was worried mum would have an accident and hurt an innocent person or herself i disconnected the battery and took the keys.
    musicveg
    27th Feb 2019
    3:29pm
    Don't know why everyone has got themselves in a tizz here, this article was only about testing for those with dementia not all older drivers.
    My late dad had a serious car accident many years ago and was later diagnosed with dementia, we do not know if he had it before or got it after the stress of the accident. His car was a right off and he slammed into a parked truck on the side of a highway, so that what was we were told, although my dad had his own story about what happened we did not know what to believe. It is a really difficult with early dementia because they are in denial, my dad loved driving so much and it was sad later that he could not drive anymore but he did realize that it was not safe for him to drive.
    MICK
    27th Feb 2019
    3:46pm
    Doctors might be reluctant to take away the ability of older people to get around.
    Testing is the right thing to do but perhaps every 5 years and not at the driver's cost.
    Some older drivers should not be driving, beginning with Prince Phillip.
    Aussie
    27th Feb 2019
    3:52pm
    OMG again another seat warmers team decisions to Stuff our life wowowowowo

    We can not keep paying for the seat warmers politician to keep there bum worm .... is all bull .... now a driving test .... on top of fill up a form by your doctor to prove you are Ok to drive which is Ok to do like in many other countries in the world ..... What is next ??????/ ..... another political scum .....

    I think there is a team of politicians dedicated to stuff our retirement life with studies and decisions without any concern for the consequences of their decisions ....
    Dot
    27th Feb 2019
    4:01pm
    ONCE AGAIN THE OLD AUSSIE IS BEING TARGETED WHILE AT THE SAME TIME THE NEW COMERS TO THIS COUNTRY ARE GIVEN THEIR LICENCES WITHOUT HAVING THE STRICT EXAMINATIONS AS THOSE OF US WHO APPLIED FOR THEIR LICENCES IN YEARS GONE BY.
    Aussie
    27th Feb 2019
    4:13pm
    Yes Dot .....AAAggggggg I have been targeted shit shit Aaaaggggggg targeted again ...he he he
    Dot
    27th Feb 2019
    4:01pm
    ONCE AGAIN THE OLD AUSSIE IS BEING TARGETED WHILE AT THE SAME TIME THE NEW COMERS TO THIS COUNTRY ARE GIVEN THEIR LICENCES WITHOUT HAVING THE STRICT EXAMINATIONS AS THOSE OF US WHO APPLIED FOR THEIR LICENCES IN YEARS GONE BY.
    Knows-a-lot
    27th Feb 2019
    4:29pm
    Old drivers are a menace on the roads (particularly women drivers). Great idea!
    shirboy
    27th Feb 2019
    4:31pm
    My Husband & I had to force my sister to have her husband's license revoked because we could see that his driving ability had deteriorated considerably. She was putting up with his bad driving because it suited her as she didn't drive.
    Not a Bludger
    27th Feb 2019
    5:00pm
    OMG - get these dogooders out of my hair.
    Leave it to the medics to call the shots - according to the lefties, good enough for a couple of medics to over rule the law of the land where Nauru and Manus are concerned.
    So obviously, back in your box everybody else.
    Mandy
    27th Feb 2019
    5:39pm
    Sen.Cit I also heard that statistic of 27% of those killed in road accidents being in the older age group, but when I queried this, he admitted that they were not all drivers as the original information appeared to imply. Older people being more frail are more likely to be killed in accidents whether they are driving or not. He also did not say whether this included pedestrians. Like they say, there are lies ,damn lies and statistics.
    Mandy
    27th Feb 2019
    5:39pm
    Sen.Cit I also heard that statistic of 27% of those killed in road accidents being in the older age group, but when I queried this, he admitted that they were not all drivers as the original information appeared to imply. Older people being more frail are more likely to be killed in accidents whether they are driving or not. He also did not say whether this included pedestrians. Like they say, there are lies ,damn lies and statistics.
    Mandy
    27th Feb 2019
    5:39pm
    Sen.Cit I also heard that statistic of 27% of those killed in road accidents being in the older age group, but when I queried this, he admitted that they were not all drivers as the original information appeared to imply. Older people being more frail are more likely to be killed in accidents whether they are driving or not. He also did not say whether this included pedestrians. Like they say, there are lies ,damn lies and statistics.
    Buggsie
    27th Feb 2019
    5:49pm
    IN NSW older drivers are targeted by the RMS. I live in a regional area and it is well known that, when the time comes for your compulsory annual driving test, DON"T go to the RMS for testing. You will fail. Pay to have an independent driving instructor do the test - you will get a fair assessment and retain your licence in most cases. Friends have been failed by RMS testers and retained their licence when retested privately. Age discrimination is alive and well in NSW.
    Huskie
    28th Feb 2019
    7:12am
    Blatant case of promoting Age Discrimination. Retaining a licence should be based on ability to drive in a safe manner not health or age. It also needs to be locality based, loss of licence in a Rural/Regional area can be a gaol sentence due no Public Transport, Taxis or other alternative means of transport. I can drive 50 kms without encountering another vehicle!
    ABE
    28th Feb 2019
    8:19pm
    Well, call me out of touch, BUT I had no idea that people with dementia are allowed to drive. Why ???

    In WA nearly every day some older person crashes into someone's house. When people start dying like flies then others will sit up and do something.

    There must be a national driving test!!
    Redrims
    3rd Mar 2019
    12:21pm
    How about testing all age groups as the young are just as likely to cause accidents as older people. I lost my car recently when a young woman with 7 month old daughter drove out in front of me to do a right hand turn against a give way sign. No time to stop! So now no car!
    PlanB
    4th Mar 2019
    8:05am
    I am also worried about these younger drivers that drive full of DRUGS and booze, and think they know it all but can't even drive a manual car


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