Seniors account for only four per cent of all road deaths and serious injuries on Territory roads. However, per kilometres driven, studies show that older drivers are more at risk of being seriously injured or killed than most other age groups. There are many different conditions which can affect you when driving or using the road as a pedestrian. These can include medical conditions, vision and flexibility.
In the Northern Territory (NT) retaining a driver’s licence is determined by a person’s behaviour and medical fitness to drive, not their age. However, there may come a time when a person will need to reduce or stop driving. Drivers need to be aware of changes that could affect their driving ability.
All NT drivers are required to pass a vision test on initial application and then on a five yearly basis. A medical assessment is only required when a health professional has notified the Registrar of Motor Vehicles when they reasonably believe that a person they have examined is physically or mentally incapable of driving a vehicle.
You may be required to get a medical assessment of fitness to drive if:
- you declare you have a disability or medical condition that may affect your ability to drive
- a member of the public or a member of NT Police has written to the Registrar of Motor Vehicles concerned about your fitness to drive
- a health professional reports your fitness to drive to the Registrar of Motor Vehicles with concerns about your ability to drive.
If you are asked to be assessed, this does not mean that you will automatically lose your licence. Many drivers found to have medical conditions are allowed to keep driving with specific conditions added to their licence.
For more information on medical fitness to drive, visit the Northern Territory Government website.
Mobility scooters or devices give independence to people who have difficulty walking due to a physical or medical condition. Mobility scooters are not meant to be used as a replacement for a motor vehicle.
Users of these devices do not require registration or a drivers licence. They are classified as ‘pedestrians’ and must follow the laws that would prevail if they were a walking pedestrian. Motorised mobility devices may, by law, only travel up to a maximum speed of 10km per hour and can travel on:
- shared paths
- the sides of roads if there is no footpath.
What you can do
- talk with doctors or pharmacists to check how medications may affect your driving
- check the warning labels on your medication
- always wear your spectacles if needed and get regular eye checks
- encourage the use of alternative transport such as public transport or taxi
- discuss safe driving and any worrying behaviours with an older relative or friend. This can be a sensitive topic.
- Palmerston City Council Mobility Scooters and Electric Wheelchairs safe travel guidelines
- The New Zealand Transport Agency supporting senior drivers brochure may guide any discussions and help distinguish between one off and frequent behaviours by older drivers.