DRIVING TEST: Shirley McIlwain, from Golden Beach, is an over-75 driver, and will have to get a medical certificate every 12 months to prove she is competent to drive following new laws being introduced on January 1 by the Queensland Government.
DRIVING TEST: Shirley McIlwain, from Golden Beach, is an over-75 driver, and will have to get a medical certificate every 12 months to prove she is competent to drive following new laws being introduced on January 1 by the Queensland Government. Iain Curry

Elderly on scooters 'should face medical tests'

A LEADING Sunshine Coast doctor says elderly people riding motorised scooters should be subject to the same laws as drivers over 75.

From January 1, Queensland drivers aged 75 and older will need to obtain a medical certificate every 12 months if they want to stay behind the wheel.

In enforcing the new laws, the Department of Transport and Main Roads said drivers aged 75 years and older had a higher risk, per distance travelled, of being killed in a crash than any age group.

Australian Medical Association Queensland regional GP representative Dr Mason Stevenson said in the past doctors had the right to perform driving assessments between one and five years.

"The reality is that most GPs have been insisting that over 75-year-olds have a medical check every one to two years for driving purposes anyway," he said.

"It is not just a simple eye test. A GP needs to judge their eyesight, hearing, mental capacity to drive and physical capacity to drive.

Do you agree with motorists over the age of 75 having to provide medical certificates annually to continue driving?

This poll ended on 02 January 2014.

Current Results

Yes - it's fair

61%

No - it's unfair

4%

Everyone should have to supply medical certificate to drive, no matter their age

30%

Once then turn 75 they should be taken off the road regardless

3%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

"GPs have an obligation to inform Queensland Transport if a patient is unfit to drive.

"One of the most common reasons, in the elderly, for retraction of a licence, is dementia and unfortunately the patients are unaware of their dementia and unaware of the memory and concentration difficulties."

Dr Stevenson said people on mobility scooters were exempt from medical assessments, but should not be.

"If a patient is unable to drive a motor vehicle on our roadways, it can be strongly argued that the same patient should not be driving any other motorised transportation."

Shirley McIlwain, 82, from Golden Beach, has an annual check-up with her doctor to make sure she's fit to drive.

While she only drove locally, she felt more confident having the okay from her GP.

"I always get a letter from the doctor every year, I have since I turned 75," she said.

Ms McIlwain had no objections to annual medical assessments for drivers over 75.



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