New driver’s licence health rule to keep seniors safe
Drivers aged over 75 will not have to risk a trip to the doctor to get a health check under a new State Government coronavirus safety measure.
Transport and Main Roads Minister, Mark Bailey, said the need for annual medical checks for older drivers would be waived to help protect them from life-threatening infection.
Mr Bailey said the move was designed to encourage retirees to stay at home as much as possible.
Until now it has been a legal requirement for over 75s to visit their doctor or optometrist to obtain a medical certificate to meet senior driver licensing requirements.
This conflicted with strong advice from Commonwealth and Queensland government health authorities for senior Australians to self-isolate because of their far higher risk of serious illness from coronavirus.
But Mr Bailey said his department had received multiple reports from doctors and optometrists that older Queenslanders had been leaving their homes to renew their medical certificates, when they should be limiting travel.
"The health advice has been clear: stay at home," Mr Bailey said.
"Regulatory changes have been made to do two things in response to COVID-19: medical certificates that were obtained to meet the senior driver requirements, that expired after January 29, will be considered valid until six months after the COVID-19 emergency ends; and during this emergency period, senior drivers will not be committing an offence if they drive while not holding a valid medical certificate.''
These changes come into effect last week.
"These changes will help to reduce the risk of virus exposure senior Queensland drivers would face when visiting a clinic and taking medical exams,'' Mr Bailey said.
"The more people staying at home, the more we can lessen the strain on our health system.
"I encourage everyone in the community to relay this information to older friends and relatives to help ease their concerns."
Originally published as New driver's licence health rule to keep seniors safe