When do I need to slow down around emergency vehicles?
Whenever you pass a stationary emergency vehicle that has its lights flashing, you must slow down to 25km/h, even if the speed limit is usually over 100km/h. If you’re travelling on the opposite side of the road and there’s no median strip separating you, you’ll also need to slow down. If an emergency vehicle is passing you with its lights flashing, you don’t need to slow down, but you do need to move out of the way.
Can I use the GPS on my phone while driving?
In SA, you can use the GPS on your phone while driving as long as the mobile is mounted in a fixed cradle. However, you can’t touch your phone while you’re driving to make updates – including if you’re stopped at the lights. Instead, you’ll need to either pull over and park the car, or make any changes before you head off.
These rules do not apply to Learner drivers and P1 licence holders because they can’t use a mobile for any purpose – even if it’s mounted.
Are there any medical tests for drivers over 70?
Back in 2014, the State Government scrapped the mandatory annual assessment for drivers aged over 70 who don’t have a medical condition and hold a car (C Class) licence. If you have a medical condition recorded against your licence however, you’ll need to visit a doctor and submit the annual Certificate of Fitness form that will be sent to you. The same will apply for other licences – like for trucks and motorbikes. Your doctor may request you also take a Practical Driving Assessment to determine your driving ability, and if you’re over 85 and hold a licence for something other than a vehicle, you’ll also need to sit this test.
Remember, it’s your responsibility to report any medical conditions you have that could impact your ability to drive. If you disagree with an assessment made by a doctor on this front, you do have the right to appeal.
If you wear glasses or contact lenses while driving, it will be recorded as a condition on your licence but you won’t need a medical assessment.
What medical conditions could affect driving ability?
Every person is different, and certain conditions affect individuals differently. If you have a medical condition or develop one, speak to your doctor about what it means for you. Some common conditions that might need closer consideration include:
- Alcohol and/or drug dependency
- Arthritis or other joint conditions
- Dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, depression or other mental health conditions like schizophrenia, bipolar or psychosis
- Eye conditions such as glaucoma, cataracts or macular degeneration
- Heart disease
- High or low blood pressure
- Injuries or physical impairments including limb amputation or paralysis
- Parkinson's Disease and other neurological disorders
- Sleep apnora, narcolepsy or other sleep disorders
I’ve just been diagnosed with a serious medical condition – what happens to my licence?
Health professionals are required to notify the Registrar of Motor Vehicles if they have reasonable cause to believe someone with any sort of driving licence is suffering from a condition, disability, illness or deficiency that could endanger themselves or others if they got behind the wheel. Under the Motor Vehicles Act, individuals also need to notify the registrar in writing of such a condition.
The Registrar has the power to make you undertake tests to prove your fitness to drive and that could include a practical test and/or further medical tests. They also have the power to cancel a licence, or add conditions on a licence, including time and distance restrictions. You can of course challenge any decision, and our Motoring Road Rules Consultant can provide some more advice on this.
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