“Under the new legislation introduced in March this year, it is compulsory for all drivers to report any permanent or long-term medical conditions that may impair their ability to drive. This includes common conditions such as diabetes, lung disease, heart disease and high or low blood pressure,” said Dr Woollard.
“The regulations put in place were based on national guidelines to improve road safety the DPI has overstepped their boundaries in interpreting how the law needs to be enforced.”
“In Queensland and Victoria, someone with a medical condition which could affect their ability to drive, are required to discuss their condition with their own doctor who would complete a medical report or certificate that the person lodges with the relevant transport authorities,” said Dr Woollard.
“In WA however, the DPI requires drivers to report the medical conditions directly to the department, which then reviews the information and decides on what action drivers need to take and how their licence will be affected. Failure to report may result in a $500 fine.”
Dr Woollard said that under the current guidelines, most people over the age of 65 will probably be required to provide the DPI with details of their medical history.
“The DPI said that the regulations were made following recommendations made by the State Coroner, but as I understand, the Deputy State Coroner recommended mandatory reporting for only one condition, that is epilepsy,” said Dr Woollard.
“There are only rare instances where conditions such as diabetes or hypertension interfere with the ability to drive safely and there is simply no need for the DPI to collect sensitive medical details of hundreds of thousands of Western Australians,” said Dr Woollard.
“The community were alarmed when the DPI released confidential motorist information to a private company. It is not appropriate for this department to have the information they are asking for when it is not going to affect someone’s driving abilities.”
“I will be seeking legal advice as I believe this encroaches on our personal rights. I will be taking this up with the government to modify how the regulations are enforced,” said Dr Woollard.