Heavy Vehicle Information
Driving a heavy vehicle is demanding and carries special responsibilities to the public. When you apply for or renew your heavy vehicle license you must fill out forms regarding your medical fitness to drive. Under national legislation a professional driver must notify the RMS (or other state licensing authority) if they develop a medical condition that potentially affects driving. This is important in terms of insurance and liability.
The national medical standard, Assessing Fitness to Drive, Commercial and Private Vehicle Drivers (2016), is used to guide decision making regarding fitness to drive a commercial vehicle in Australia and New Zealand.
Any condition that affects a person’s vision, physical capacity or cognition may affect their ability to drive a truck. Once the RMS has been notified of a medical condition or injury that affects driving, they may ask for medical reports. In some cases an occupational therapy heavy vehicle driving assessment may be required.
Heavy Vehicle Assessment
Rehab on Road provides assessment for all classes of trucks and buses. Generally a car assessment is required prior to a heavy vehicle assessment because a truck does not have dual controls and medical conditions affecting truck driving often also affect car driving. An off road assessment is conducted prior to a practical heavy vehicle assessment (see ‘Driving with a Disability’).
In a heavy vehicle assessment, tasks associated with truck driving (such as loading and unloading vehicles and uncoupling articulated vehicles) are considered. Transferring in and out of the vehicle and on and off the tray is assessed. All drivers need to demonstrate competence in transfers, pre-driving checks and securing loads. Tasks assessed will depend on the industry in which the driver is employed. (For example the tasks a bus driver performs are quite different to those of a road train driver). A practical on road assessment is conducted for all drivers. Competence in observation, speed control, road position, planning and judgement, operation of vehicle controls and reaction time is observed. A qualified heavy vehicle driving instructor is in the vehicle with the driver trained occupational therapist.
Results are discussed with the driver and a medico-legal standard report is sent to the RMS making recommendations regarding license status and endorsements. A remediation programme may be offered. Modifications are available for drivers with physical limitations (however these may be limited for drivers of fleet vehicles). Note: your license will only be regained to the class that you are tested in. If you want to regain a HC license you should be assessed in this class of vehicle.
Forklift / Industrial Equipment
Operators of industrial equipment such as forklifts and excavators must obtain a National Certificate of Competency in Australia. Licensing is overseen by WorkCover. If a worker sustains and injury or develops a medical condition that may affect driving, an occupational therapy driving assessment may be required. This is a practical assessment conducted in conjunction with a qualified forklift assessor / trainer. Contact Rehab on Road to organise an assessment.