COVID-19 Information for OT Driving Assessors

We are aware that returning to your role as an occupational therapy driving assessor during the uncertainty of COVID-19 is dependent on many different factors.  As a result, each individual circumstance and case needs to be assessed on its own merit at the point of referral.  The OTA National Driving Taskforce recommend you consider the following key principles document to guide your clinical reasoning. These principles are based on consensus agreement of occupational therapy driving assessors from NSW, QLD and VIC who attended the OT Driver Education meeting on the 22 May 2020 and have national application. If you have any additional queries or concerns please contact info@otaus.com.au 

OT Driver Assessments - Managing COVID 19 Key Principles
OT Driving Assessments - COVID-19 Practice Checklist

Disclaimer: The information provided in these guidelines is current at the date of first publication and is intended for use as a guide of a general nature only. While every reasonable effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, no guarantee can be given that the information is free from error or omission, nor are these guidelines exhaustive of the subject matter. Occupational Therapy Australia expects that occupational therapy driving assessors will abide by the information sources with the relevant licensing authority in their jurisdiction, directions provided by referrers and the relevant health authorities.  Occupational Therapy Australia cannot take responsibility for any misuse or misapplication of these guidelines that may result in any loss or damage (consequential or otherwise) cost or expense incurred or arising by reason of any person using or relying on the information contained in these guidelines and whether caused by reason of any error, negligent act omission or misrepresentation in the guide.

Occupational Therapy Australia has received the following information from local transport authorities. We will continue to update this information as we receive replies from each state and territory. 

ACT Driver Licence Information

All low risk cases will be extended for 6 months. Medium risk cases extended for 90 days and high risk cases will still require medical assessments be submitted to Access Canberra. These drivers cases will be triaged by the RUS Medical Team and maybe referred for clinical assessment if complex in nature.

The RUS Medical team will advise ACT drivers in writing if they may continue to drive or will suspend their right to drive until a clinical or practical OT assessment can be safely conducted after the COVID-19 pandemic passes. Click here for more information.


Service NSW


On Wednesday 1 July, Service NSW re-opened driver testing bookings to all customers across the state.  As driver testing was closed for 3 months, we are experiencing a high demand for the service. To manage this, we've increased the number of tests available and will continue to take the necessary steps to minimise any delay.

More information on priority testing, aged driving tests and overseas licence holders can be found here.


QLD Department of Transport and Main Roads

As of Monday 13 July 2020 practical driving test bookings reopened to all Queenslanders. As health and safety remains the priority, several measures are in place including:

  • mandatory screening for test participants
  • vehicle cleaning requirements
  • reinforcement of general health and hygiene measures.

Further information including health and safety requirements for driving tests is available on the Department's website here. All practical driving tests were suspended from 28 March, to limit the spread of COVID-19 and comply with social distancing recommendations from Queensland Health.


Service SA

Can Motor Driving Instructors continue to work with occupational therapists in car to assist the client achieve driving goals?
If you are a Motor Driving Instructor and the driver training is conducted for fee or reward inside a vehicle and is in any way linked to the issue, retention or lifting of a suspension of a driver’s licence or is in any other way associated with the driver licensing function of the Registrar of Motor Vehicles you are operating as a Motor Driving Instructor and the direction prohibits this activity. In addition as pointed out above Temporary Permits often have a requirement to have a Motor Driving Instructor present, and under the emergency direction this is now prohibited.


TRANSPORT TASMANIA

DRIVING ASSESSMENT BOOKINGS SUSPENDED

The Department is committed to ensuring the safety of clients and staff during the current outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). At this stage, future bookings either online or at Service Tasmania have been suspended. We will continue to monitor advice from the relevant authorities about this evolving global situation and will immediately open bookings when appropriate to do so.

All current bookings have been cancelled (with no exceptions). Refunds are available upon request – Please email driver.assessment@stategrowth.tas.gov.au, otherwise payment can be used for next booking. When driving assessment services recommence, priority booking will be given to clients who had already booked. The Department will contact affected clients.

Online Driving Assessments
Currently unavailable pending further advice.

Authorised Driving Assessors
Clients should contact external service providers regarding services currently available for L2 and P1 assessments.


VIC ROADS

VicRoads coronavirus (COVID-19) update dated 6 August 2020

In line with advice from the Victorian Chief Health Officer, the Victorian Government has announced that

  • Melbourne has moved to Stage 4 restrictions and,
  • Regional Victoria (including the Mitchell Shire) has moved to Stage 3 restrictions.

All Victorians must wear a mask when they leave home, unless an exception applies. Restrictions are in place to help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and save lives. For more information visit the Department of Health and Human Services website.

Impact on VicRoads’ operations
We have received advice from the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions that VicRoads is categorised as an essential service under the Public Industry and Safety sector of the government’s Stage 4 Industry Restrictions framework. VicRoads will continue to provide our services to our partners and the public. We have re-suspended drive tests, computer-based tests and medical review tests across Victoria, with the exception of priority tests conducted under our existing hardship criterial.

All our Customer Service Centres across the state remain open, offering limited services. Our call centre and digital channels continue to operate us usual. Please keep checking our website for updates on the changes we’re making within metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria to reflect the new restrictions.

INFORMATION FOR OCCUPATIONAL THERAPISTS

Occupational Therapy Driving Assessments
VicRoads is postponing requests for occupational therapy driving assessments (OTDAs) for all customers throughout Victoria.

Where customers are required to undertake an occupational therapy driving assessment, we may defer their assessment for a minimum period of 3 months and provide them a 'conditional licence' with restrictions, while waiting for their on-road assessment.  This will be based on a case-by-case assessment of their road safety risk profile. Examples of conditional licence restrictions include: 

  • a driving radius from home
  • no freeway driving
  • no night driving.

If the customer has previously been issued with a conditional licence with restrictions, these conditions will remain until they undertake and pass the occupational therapy driving assessment, following the easing of restrictions.

VicRoads will contact customers when requests for occupational therapy driving assessments resume, in line with the advice of the Victorian Chief Health Officer. If you have completed an off-road assessment but cannot complete an on-road assessment at the current time, please submit your off-road assessment results to Medical Review as this will support our risk assessment process. If your customer has previously been contacted by VicRoads requesting an occupational therapy driving assessment, we recommended you or your customer contact VicRoads to seek an extension of the due date.

Occupational Therapists will need to carefully consider whether they provide Occupational Therapy Driving Tests to existing customers at this time. According to advice from DHHS, all Victorians are strongly advised to stay at home at this time. Additionally, your customers should be making informed decisions about engaging with any service provider and must adhere to the requirements outlined on the Department of Health and Human Services website.

We encourage you to carefully consider all relevant Victorian Government advice to decide whether you may continue to operate.

Driving Lessons
As at 6.8.20, DHHS provides clear information about driving lessons only for Regional Victoria. Note that currently there are differences between Melbourne Metro and Victorian regional locations in relation to driving lessons as Melbourne Metropolitan is in Stage 4 and Victorian Regional is in Stage 3 restrictions. Always check for up to date information. Regional location information about driving lessons: https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/travel-regional-victoria-covid-19#can-i-leave-my-house-to-take-a-driving-lesson

Addressing your questions
We encourage OTs to contact VicRoads Medical Review if they have any further questions or concernsWe thank you for your patience as we work through the implications of these changes. We will keep you updated as we have more to share.


Department of Transport (DoT)

The Department of Transport (DoT) is continuing to conduct Practical Driving Assessments (PDA) and will prioritise appointments for those who require a licence for freight tasks, medical reasons and work purposes.

Process

DoT will prioritise any available PDA bookings to customers who require a driver’s licence for the following reasons:

  • Employment.
  • Essential services.
  • Medical reasons.

If any of your customers have an upcoming PDA booking and do not require a driver’s licence for one of the above reasons, we request that they consider postponing their PDA. Once the current health crisis is resolved, candidates who have cancelled bookings will be prioritised for PDA appointments.

Motorcycle and heavy vehicle PDA assessments are not impacted. Thank you for your patience and for working with us during the current situation.

Further information
The DoT Customer Contact Centre can be contacted for any queries regarding the above instructions on 13 11 56.

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