Driving tests

Medical requirements for driving

In order to drive you must meet a minimum level of health. Every time you renew or replace your driver’s licence you must either declare yourself fit to drive or, in some cases, supply a medical or eyesight certificate.

Some medical conditions must be declared:

  • Diabetes
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Head injury
  • Seizures, convulsions, epilepsy or fits
  • Stroke
  • Spinal injury
  • Locomotive joint or limb problems
  • Poor eyesight or visual disturbances such as double vision, glaucoma or cataracts
  • High blood pressure
  • Nervous or mental disorders
  • Cerebral vascular accidents or disease
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Dementia
  • Conditions or disabilities that make it difficult for you to drive safely.

When is a medical certificate required for driving?

  • You are obtaining or renewing any class of licence or any endorsement after your 75th birthday
  • Your medical condition might affect your ability to drive safely
  • You are applying for or renewing a heavy vehicle licence (classes 2-5) unless you’ve provided a certificate in the last five years
  • You are applying for or renewing one or more of the following endorsements (unless you’ve already provided a certificate in the last five years):
    • P – passengers
    • V – vehicle recovery services
    • I – driving instructor
    • O – testing officer

Any previously supplied medical certificate must be for the same standard that you’re now applying for.

Medical certificate requirements

  • Must be a Transport Agency medical certificate from a New Zealand-registered medical practitioner
  • Must be no more than 60 days old
  • Must either state you are safe to drive or set out the conditions under which you can drive safely.
  • Must be paid for.

Occupational therapist checks

In some cases a doctor might not be able to decide whether you are medically fit and will seek a second opinion. An occupational therapist will take you for a driving assessment which usually consists of a two-hour off-road assessment followed by a 50-60-minute on-road assessment (if safe).

The occupational therapist will either say no, yes or yes but with some conditions (e.g. you can only drive an automatic car). Their report will be sent to your doctor who will decide whether or not a medical certificate is appropriate.

Darren is a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists and the NZ Motoring Writers' Guild

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