Huntington's Disease and Driving
HD is a progressive neurological disorder which can affect a person's movement, coordination, visual perception, information processing, reaction time and maintenance of attention.
HD can affect the ability to self evaluate and it is advised that driving be discussed with family members and your doctor. They may have a different perception of your driving skills.
In the early stage of HD drivers often modify their driving habits to address the changes outlined above. This may be achieved by driving shorter distances and avoiding peak hour traffic and night time driving.
However as the condition progresses problems may develop which could result in impaired
driving performance. These may include:
- reduced physical reaction time
- impaired problem solving
- reduced reaction time
- fluctuations in physical symptoms
- difficulty attending to dual/multiple tasks e.g. radio, passengers, traffic
- problems with concentration
It is your personal responsibility to report to your insurance company any changes in your medical status. In some cases failure to disclose this information may result in invalid insurance.
It is preferable that you inform your insurance company of your diagnosis of HD (it is not mandatory). Contact your insurance company for further details.
Mandatory Self Reporting
The Department of Planning and Infrastructure (DPI) demands that HD be reported. The penalty for non-reporting is $500.00. Notifying the DPI does not necessarily mean that you will lose your driving licence. For further information contact:
Department of Planning and Infrastructure
Driver Assessment Section
Phone 1300 852 722 or (08) 92168382
What happens if Doctor's Advice is ignored?
If you continue to drive despite your doctor's advice and you do not report your condition to the driver licensing authority, you are not fulfilling your legal responsibility. If you are involved in an accident under these circumstances and it is found that your health condition was a contributing factor you may be prosecuted and your insurance may not be valid. If your doctor is aware that you continue to drive and feels that this poses a risk to you and other road users, he/she may feel obliged to notify the driver licensing authority directly.
"Driving is not a right but a privilege" Colin 2005
Assessment Requirements for Driving
Medical Assessment: Ages 80 and over - annually thereafter (earlier if medical condition changes).
Following Mandatory Reporting: As requested.
Further information is available from your doctor or therapist.
Alternative Transport Options
Your social worker can direct you to specific services in your area. Some options include:
- Taxi User Subsidy Scheme (1300 660 147)
- HACC Transport - Volunteer Task Force (9318 5700)
- Local Council (contact your local shire)
- People Who Care - Volunteer Transport (9379 1944)
- Repatriation Transport Scheme (enquiries 9366 8391, 93668392 or 1300 550 455)