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 22nd 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

Driver testing postponed
In response to the latest health advice and risks associated with COVID-19, Service NSW has postponed driver testing across NSW for a minimum period of 2 months. This change comes into effect immediately.

This applies to all practical driver assessments conducted by Service NSW.

It does not apply to assessments conducted via the Heavy Vehicle Competency Based Assessment Program or any other assessment provider outside of Service NSW.

Priority testing
If you believe you have an urgent need for your driving test to be conducted you can apply for a priority request. More information on priority testing, aged driving tests and overseas licence holders can be found here.


QLD Department of Transport and Main Roads

Update 3 June, 2020: The Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads have announced that from 15 June 2020, Queensland driver tests will be recommencing for priority bookings. To ensure tests are conducted safely, there will be some new measures in place including a pre-screening health checklist, cleaning and disinfectant procedures. Further information including health and safety requirements for driving tests is available on the Department's website here.

The current advice from TMR is:

  • All  practical driving tests are cancelled for three months from Saturday 28 March 2020
  • TMR advise individual organisations to undertake their own risk assessments on the feasibility of delivering services (i.e the decision lies with each organisation, TMR can not mandate private driving instructors to stop but it is recommended)
  • Medical Conditions Reporting unit advises that they are working through processes towards being able to grant an extension on driver's licence expiry dates for under 75s (dependent on licence endorsements), however for over 75’s this will require a legislation change, which they are also working toward – nothing is approved as yet.

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

Update 15 June, 2020

VicRoads coronavirus (COVID-19) update - Occupational Therapy Driving Assessors
The Victorian Government has announced that all light vehicle and computer-based drive tests in Victoria are set to resume from 15 June 2020.

Our priority at this time is to reschedule all appointments that were suspended on 25 March due to coronavirus restrictions
We know the suspension of testing has been difficult and thank everyone for their patience and understanding as we begin resuming drive testing and work towards rescheduling appointments. We will continue to keep you updated as we have more to share. For the latest updates to the resumption of drive and computer-based tests, please visit Resumption of service for licence testing . This page contains details of the information we are providing to customers about our Safe Operating Procedures (SOP), how to prepare for their test and what to expect.

Impacts for Medical Review Driving Tests and Occupational Therapy Driving Assessments
As part of our return to service, VicRoads will be contacting Medical Review customers who had their appointments postponed to reschedule their tests. We will also contact OTDA customers to let them know they can contact an Occupational Therapist to arrange an assessment. This will be done incrementally over the next few months. To protect the health and wellbeing of all customers and staff, strict hygiene protocols will be in place in our drive test vehicles.

The Chief Health Officer has outlined a range of measures to allow drive testing to commence safely. Pre-drive health-screening checks for all occupants in the vehicle, appropriate cleaning or coverage of vehicles used in tests, increased hand hygiene protocols for all occupants in the vehicle and the use of appropriate personal protection equipment as stipulated by VicRoads for all vehicle occupants as requested. No one should be participating in a drive test if they are unwell. All customers will need to confirm that they are not sick before sitting a test. VicRoads reserves the right to refuse a test if we believe an applicant is unwell, and in this case the test will be rescheduled for a later date.

Everyone is reminded to practice good hand hygiene before and after your test to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
VicRoads “Safe Operating Procedures” will be reviewed on an ongoing basis. A copy is attached for information only. We encourage you to continue to refer to information provided by OT Australia and the Department of Health and Human Services to inform your own safe work practices.


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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