Getting a Drivers Licence - Medical Requirements

December 04, 2013 at 4:56 PM

medical.jpgSafety is one of the most important things to consider on the roads of New Zealand. It is extremely important that each and every driver is medically fit to drive and must prove that they are medically fit each time they apply for a driver licence, renew it or replace it.
For the most part, proving that you are medically fit simply means that you must declare any existing medical conditions.

If the licensing branch needs more proof, they may ask you to obtain a medical certificate from your doctor, if they believe it might affect your ability to operate a motor vehicle safely.

When a medical certificate is required
There are certain cases where a medical certificate is required:

  • If you suffer from a medical condition that could affect your ability to operate a motor vehicle safely;
  • If you are renewing your heavy vehicle licence or renewing it (class 2, 3, 4, 5) you must provide a medical certificate if you have not provided one within the preceding five years;
  • If the driver licensing branch asks you to provide one;
  • If you have a licence for passengers (P), driving instruction (I), vehicle recovery services (V) or testing officer (O) and you have not provided a medical certificate to the licensing branch within the preceding five years;
  • If you are 75 years of age or older;


Obtaining a Medical Certificate
Your NZ Transport Agency medical certificate must be completed by a medical practitioner registered in New Zealand.

Some doctors may charge you a fee to complete the form that you need and these costs differ from doctor to doctor.

Once you have the medical certificate completed, be sure to take it to the licensing branch as soon as possible, as it has a 60 day expiry.
The certificate must state that you are safe to drive, or it should set out the conditions that must be in place for you to be able to drive safely – for example – you need to wear prescription eyeglasses.

Eyesight Exams
Having your eyesight checked should be something that you do, as any prudent person would, at least once every two years. When it comes to renewing your driver’s licence, it is up to you to prove that your eyesight meets required standards.

The licensing agent will run a general eyesight screening check when you arrive to renew your licence. This test takes around 90 seconds and tests your peripheral vision and distance vision.
Optometrists can conduct the appropriate eye testing and issue a certificate that you can present to the licensing branch.

The cost of the certificate will vary between optometrists, but should be no older than 60 days and show that you have met the required safe driving standards.
If you normally wear glasses or contact lenses, this will be shown as a licence condition which means that you need to wear the glasses or contact lenses each time you drive.
When you see a doctor regarding your medical fitness to drive [] , they may want a second opinion if they have any concerns and may refer you to an occupational therapist to complete a driving assessment.

This assessment is generally a two hour off-road assessment and a 60 minute on-road assessment, taken one after the other.

Once this has all been completed, the therapist will write a report and send it to your doctor. At this point, your doctor may then issue the medical certificate you require, but it may also have special conditions attached.

One example would be that your doctor recommends you only drive automatic transmission vehicles.

I hope this gives you some insight into the medical requirements related to driving on NZ roads.

Category: The Drivers Licence