‘Fitness to drive’ in New Zealand: psychiatric aspects and the clinician's role

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Abstract

Objectives

The Land Transport Act 1998 of New Zealand requires that medical practitioners must inform the Director of Land Transport if a patient they examine has a mental or physical condition that indicates that the patient should not be permitted to drive. The guidelines issued by the Land Transport Safety Authority (LTSA) for clinicians assessing a consumer's fitness to drive are under review. The current guidelines for such assessment are controversial. This paper aims to review the evidence for various factors that psychiatrists should consider when assessing a mental health consumer's fitness to drive.

Conclusions

The assessment of fitness to drive should be based on clinical factors and not on diagnosis alone or the legal status of the consumer, as stipulated in the current guidelines. We offer several recommendations regarding the psychiatrist's role in the new guidelines.

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