It is a comment we hear often, that driving is a privilege not a right. But what does this mean in the world of driving?
Where we often see the quote used is when a driver believes that they are entitled to a licence, as if it is a basic human right at a certain age to obtain a driver’s licence. Yes, there are some tests to overcome but once it is in their hands it is theirs for life.
However, this is not true: a driver’s licence is earned, and we all have responsibilities to ensure we maintain the privilege of holding a licence to drive/ride. If we as drivers do not follow the road rules and respect other road users we no longer have the privilege of holding a licence. It’s simple really: stop it, or cop it.
Often, drivers weigh their own needs above those of other road users. A good example of this is medical conditions that can affect our ability to drive safely. No one really wants to think of the possibility of not being able to drive due to a medical reason. However, it is a hard decision to admit our waning ability may be a safety concern. Medical conditions that can affect your driving ability are reportable to the Roads and Maritime Services. Conditions that need to be reported are (but not limited to) diabetes, epilepsy, stroke, and physical and mental disabilities. For a full list of conditions see the Guide to Fitness to Drive available from the Transport website.
At any age a driver may be required to undergo a medical driving test to assess their fitness to drive; it is not reserved for older drivers. The aim is not to take your licence away from you, but rather to monitor your health and ability to continue to drive safely. Although this is a self-reporting system, it is important to understand in the event of an accident – if it is revealed that the driver was affected by the medical condition under these guidelines – the insurance company may void the policy.
If you feel you have a condition that may affect your driving please see your GP or specialist who can guide you to the right decision when choosing to drive. Although a difficult decision to make, we as drivers must look at the bigger picture of road safety and understand we need to protect all road users. This outweighs our own personal needs or wants.