How medical conditions, illness and injuries affect your licence
Do you have a medical condition, illness or injury that may affect your driving? Here's what you need to know to drive safely in NSW.
Temporary or minor medical conditions
Most temporary conditions and injuries don't affect your driving, so you don’t need to report them. But you should always consult with your doctor or other medical specialist. For example, if you’ve had an anaesthetic, your doctor will advise you not to drive for at least 24 hours.
Driving with a cast
If you have a cast for a fractured leg, arm, hand or another injury, talk to your doctor about whether you can drive.
Casts on your legs or feet can stop you from safely using the accelerator, brake and clutch pedals.
If you have a cast on your arm or hand, you may still be able to drive. However, you must be able to operate all vehicle controls and have a hand on the steering wheel at all times.
It may not be possible for you to drive a manual vehicle with a cast. You need to be able to safely change gears while keeping one hand on the steering wheel.
If you have a cast on your leg, arm or wrist you must not ride until you have fully recovered and the cast is removed.
Driving after surgery or with serious medical conditions
Some medical conditions, injuries and illnesses can seriously affect your ability to drive safely.
Consulting a doctor
If you have a long-term or serious medical condition or illness, you must consult your doctor or specialist before driving.
This includes if you have:
- blackouts, fainting or other sudden periods of unconsciousness
- vision problems
- cardiovascular (heart) disease or stroke
- dementia or cognitive decline
- sleep disorders
- neurological conditions
- mental health conditions
- age-related decline
- substance misuse, including alcohol, illicit drugs and prescription drugs.
You may need to get a medical assessment for Fitness to Drive to renew or apply for a driver licence. To do this, you will need to visit your doctor or specialist.
In some cases, you may need to pass a driving test, or have conditions placed on your licence.
Reporting your condition
You must notify Transport for NSW of a medical condition or recent surgery affecting your ability to drive safely. Notify Transport by:
We will explain the legal requirements for driving a vehicle. You will be asked to provide a medical assessment for Fitness to Drive from your doctor or health specialist.
Conditions may be placed on your licence. See licence conditions on medical advice.
In some cases, your licence may be varied, suspended or cancelled.
If you're concerned about someone, see Worried about someone's ability to drive safely?
If you move
If you have a restricted or modified licence and move to a new address, you may need to get a new medical report from your doctor.
Mandatory non-driving periods
There are mandatory non-driving periods if you have experienced any of the following:
- loss of consciousness
- hypoglycaemic episodes.
If your doctor tells you not to drive, you must comply. If you don't comply, you could face legal prosecution, loss of insurance and fines. See Austroads for information about non-driving periods.
Licence conditions are legal requirements you must follow when driving or riding.
Licence conditions are sometimes printed on the back of your licence card. They are displayed on your digital driver licence.
An example of a condition is 'must wear glasses or contact lenses while driving'.
You must comply with a medical professional's recommendations when driving. For example, you may be told to only drive during daylight hours if you have impaired vision at night.
Notify Transport for NSW of these medical recommendations as soon as possible. To do this, take your licence card to a service centre.
See Licence conditions on medical advice for more details.
Commercial and passenger vehicle drivers
Commercial and passenger vehicle drivers need to meet a higher medical standard. See Austroads for more information.
Common medical concerns when driving
If you drive a private vehicle and have epilepsy, you may only be issued a licence if:
- you’ve been free of seizures for at least 1 year
- a condition is applied to your licence to undergo regular medical reviews with your treating doctor or specialist.
There are some exceptions for a first seizure, childhood seizures or sleep-only seizures. Allowances are made on the advice of an epilepsy specialist. See Austroads for more information about seizures and driving.
If you drive a commercial vehicle (such as a truck, bus, taxi or hire car) and have epilepsy:
- you generally need to be free of seizures for 10 years to be issued a licence
- your licence also needs to be reviewed each year by a specialist in epilepsy.
Dementia causes progressive and irreversible loss of mental functions. It will eventually affect your ability to drive safely. As the condition deteriorates, you may no longer be medically fit to drive.
If you've had a recent dementia diagnosis, talk to your doctor, family, friends and carers. They will help you make the transition away from driving.
You should talk about your concerns, your transport needs and the right time to stop driving. See Retiring from driving or riding for more information.
Hearing loss and deafness
Hearing loss or deafness should not impair your ability to drive a private car, motorcycle, small bus or truck. There is no need for special licence conditions or driving reviews.
If you drive a commercial vehicle, you are subject to hearing standards. You may need to be regularly reviewed by an ear, nose and throat specialist or audiologist. There are allowances for congenital or permanent childhood hearing loss.
Oxygen therapy and masks
If you require oxygen therapy, ask your doctor if it will affect your ability to drive safely.
If your doctor assesses you and finds you are fit to drive, you may use oxygen therapy. But you need to make sure the mask and tank don't block your view, or interfere with using vehicle controls.
The oxygen tank must be securely positioned and strapped into the vehicle.
Drivers and passengers must wear a seatbelt in NSW.
Transport for NSW does not issue certificates of exemption for seatbelt use.
If your doctor gives you a certificate of exemption, you must carry it with you at all times in a vehicle.
In some cases, you may be fined by police or a magistrate even if you have an exemption certificate.
See Safety and Rules – Seatbelts for more information on seatbelt safety.
See Austroads – Seatbelt use for information on exemptions, comfort and safety.