Road not taken: lessons to be learned from Queen v. Gillett

Intern Med J. 2007 May;37(5):336-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1445-5994.2007.01349.x.


Following the decision in the Gillet Case it may no longer be safe to rely on the Austroads guidelines when considering fitness to drive. This paper examines the case and its implications. Although the Guidelines claimed '... the identification and application of world best-practice...', they were disregarded by the court in Gillet. Both expert witnesses testified that on disclosure of epilepsy the accused would have been endorsed as fit for a licence application to the Roads & Traffic Authority, on the basis of 10 years of only nocturnal seizures, in accordance with the guidelines. The Court rejected this evidence and interpreted failure to disclose epilepsy as recognition of perceived risk and the previously undiagnosed sleep apnoea as the basis for that risk, despite being diagnosed after the accident. There needs to be greater certainty in the application of the guidelines, with legislative intervention and licenses should display a bold statement advising drivers of their responsibility to notify authorities of illnesses that could potentially affect driving.

Publication types

  • Legal Case

MeSH terms

  • Accident Prevention / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use
  • Automobile Driver Examination / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Automobile Driving / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Carbamazepine / therapeutic use
  • Epilepsy* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Licensure / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Risk Factors
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes*


  • Anticonvulsants
  • Carbamazepine