Visual Standards Manual
This Manual provides the standards and specifications required by SA Ambulance, aviation professionals, ADF, driver licences (private, commercial and racing), fire fighters, marine professionals and electricians. It includes the relevant section for optometrists from the national standards detailed in "Assessing Fitness to Drive" issued in March 2012.
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Reporting a patient unfit to drive
Optometrists practising in South Australia are required by law to report any patient that they believe is unfit to drive to the appropriate authorities.
You should put your concerns in writing, stating:
- The name and current address of the patient
- Their date of birth
- What is wrong with the patient and why you believe they are unsafe to drive
The letter should be addressed to:
Department for Planning, Transport & Infrastructure
FAO Licence Services - Medical Officer
Print the letter on headed paper, fax it to: (08) 8402 1977
What you should tell your patient:
Advise your patient:
- that they should not drive until the matter is resolved
- that you have a legal obligation under the Motor Vehicles Act to inform the Medical Officer of your concerns
- what you will be writing to the Medical Officer about your concerns
- that the patient will receive a letter from Licence Services in due course explaining what happens next
You can inform the patient verbally or in writing and you should make a note of any advice provided in their records.
There will be times when your patient is not happy with your actions. Be assured that because this is your legal responsibility, the Act indemnifies you against any legal action they may pursue.
South Australia Motor Vehicles Act 1959
An Act to make provision for the registration of motor vehicles, drivers' licences and third party motor insurance: and for other purposes.
148 - Duty of health professionals
(1) Where a health professional* has reasonable cause to believe that-
(a) a person whom he or she has examined holds a driver's licence or a learner's permit; and
(b) that person is suffering from a physical or mental illness, disability or deficiency such that, if the person drove a motor vehicle, he or she would be likely to endanger the public, the health professional is under a duty to inform the Registrar in writing of the name and address of that person, and of the nature of the illness, disability or deficiency from which the person is believed to be suffering.
(2) Where a health professional furnishes information to the Registrar in pursuance of subsection (1), he or she must notify the person to whom the information relates of the fact and of the nature of the information furnished.
(3) A person incurs no civil or criminal liability in carrying out his or her duty under subsection (1).
*health professional means a legally qualified medical practitioner, a registered optometrist or a registered physiotherapist