Don’t just sign on the dotted line: assessing fitness to drive

My friend and colleague Genevieve Yates tells her tragic story of losing her partner to an elderly car driver earlier this year. She reminds us that driving is a privilege, not a right, and that doctors who sign ‘fitness to drive’ paperwork have a responsibility which extends beyond the person sitting in front of them.

Dr Genevieve Yates

The RACGP 15 conference is on in Melbourne next month and as part of the focus on social media, there is a Pecha Kucha competition.  Members of the Facebook group, GPs Down Under, are being encouraged to prepare a Pecha Kucha talk – a 6min40sec talk comprising of 20 slides, each lasting 20 seconds – on a topic about which we feel passionate.

I have put together a talk to try to raise awareness of the importance of the doctor’s role in assessing our patients’ fitness to drive. I also talk about the valuable “virtual” support that can come from online communities.

I hope that by sharing my personal story in this way, it will help encourage other doctors to be more mindful.  This might just result, indirectly at least, in someone’s husband, wife or child being spared. Of course, I have no way of knowing if it will, but…

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About Dr Justin Coleman

Justin is a GP in Brisbane and Director of Education for GPs in the NT. He edits a medical journal and two medical textbooks, and is a medical writer and educator. Further details at
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