Driving with a Brain Tumour

By Mark Dalliston - former BTAA Committee member [published in 2014, rules have changed 2016*]

I had a craniotomy and I needed to notify my local licensing authority [ Duty to report*]. I had symptoms common to brain tumours, such as seizures, and less common, such as hemiparesis (weakness down one side of the body). Not reporting can mean penalties of up to two years not driving with some licensing authorities, including fines.

It required patience and persistence on my part to get my licence back. My first step was getting the required medical approval. My GP signed off on the form, I presume after getting the OK from the neurosurgeon [14.2.11 Intracranial surgery*].

I have read an article where a patient lied about their seizures and the police tried to hold the doctor responsible when that patient crashed. Don't be that person  -  it's not fair to the rest of us.

Once I had my medical form signed I went to the licensing authority.This was a more difficult stage for me than most because of my seizure and disability. I had a seizure before the operation and hemiparesis, weakness down one side of the body, afterwards.

After a couple of meetings, we agreed that I should have a driving test, so I now have my licence back. Due to my not being able to use my leg normally it took some convincing, but at the second meeting I was able to sit in the car and show them that I could operate the pedals.

My licence has restrictions, such as driving an automatic and using a steering nob. Initially, it looked as though I was going to need to drive a modified car with my left foot. I decided to practice for six months to enable me to pass the test with the right foot.

I have had to stop driving twice. It was felt my mild seizures were due to fatigue and I was not able to drive [8.3.3 Recurrent seizure*].

It can be at times a frustrating process. A calm head will serve you well. All the while there is a realistic chance of you driving, I don't recommend you give up. To their credit, the licensing authorities and AustRoads are making progress to make it simpler for those of us who have lost their licence through medical reasons. *http://www.austroads.com.au/drivers-vehicles/assessing-fitness-to-drive

The below links are provided for your information:

ACT https://www.accesscanberra.act.gov.au/app/answers/detail/a_id/1581#!tabs-6

NSW http://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/roads/licence/health/driving-with-disability.html

NT https://nt.gov.au/driving/licence/existing-nt-licence/medical-fitness-to-drive

QLD http://www.qld.gov.au/transport/licensing/update/medical/index.html

SA https://www.sa.gov.au/topics/driving-and-transport/licences/tests/fitness-to-drive

VIC https://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/licences/health-and-driving/fitness-to-drive-faqs

WA https://www.transport.wa.gov.au/licensing/report-a-medical-condition.asp