Fitness to drive - GP perspectives of assessing older and functionally impaired patients

Aust Fam Physician. 2012 Apr;41(4):235-9.


Background: General practitioners have expressed concern about their ability to assess patients' driving fitness. This study explores GP perspectives regarding assessing fitness to drive in older and functionally impaired patients.

Methods: We held face-to-face interviews with seven metropolitan GPs and a focus group with nine rural GPs. Data were analysed using thematic analysis.

Results: General practitioners were unsure whether they or driving authorities should have responsibility for assessing patients' fitness to drive; recognised that driving is important for maintaining independence; described referral to an occupational therapist as useful, and expressed concern about the lack of access to alternative forms of transport and also about privacy issues. Opinion was divided about the merits of the VicRoads Medical Report Form and the usefulness of the Austroads guide.

Discussion: This qualitative study suggests that some GPs may find assessing fitness to drive to be challenging and problematic in general practice. Further resources and education could assist these GPs to increase their confidence and competence in assessing a patient's fitness to drive.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Automobile Driving*
  • Canada
  • Female
  • General Practitioners
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • New South Wales
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Psychomotor Disorders / diagnosis*