We have resources to help you to understand when you're OK and safe to drive, as well as your rights and responsibilities as a driver experiencing a mental health condition.
Mental ill health may affect your ability to drive safely in the same way that alcohol, drugs or fatigue can, so it's important to factor in our mental health when we decide to drive.
As more people experience challenges with their mental health, thinking about our mental health and whether we’re safe to drive is an issue for the whole community.
Drive Safe checklists: Are you OK to drive?
Symptoms of mental ill health such as changes in mood can alter a person’s decision-making ability. Similarly, medication to treat symptoms can alter the ability to react quickly while driving.
The following Drive Safe checklists were created by people with lived experience of mental ill health, to remind others in the community about what to consider before driving:
Yes, I am SAFE and OK to drive when:
- I am licensed and allowed to drive
- I feel well and in control
- I have not drunk alcohol or taken drugs
- I am feeling calm and don't have distressing thoughts
- My brain is alert and focused
- I have spoken to my support team about my driving
- I have taken my medication as agreed
- I do not have medication side effects
No, I am NOT OK and I won't drive when:
- I do not have a current licence
- I do not feel well or I do not feel in control
- I am under the influence of alcohol or drugs – for example, smoked a joint or taken speed
- I am feeling angry, upset or having distressing thoughts
- My brain is feeling slowed or foggy
- People I trust are worried about my safety when driving
- I have not taken my medication as agreed
- I am experiencing medication side effects – for example, sedation, blurred vision
Information for people with severe or ongoing mental health conditions
For people with more severe or ongoing mental health conditions, there are some additional considerations and VicRoads licensing regulations relating to driving and mental health.
Our mental health staff can help you to be aware of your rights and responsibilities as a driver experiencing a mental health condition.
When mentally unwell, individuals may need to cease driving if they are not fit or safe to drive.
After being in hospital or mentally unwell in the community, a consumer cannot drive a car or truck, or ride a motorbike or scooter until they receive medical clearance from their psychiatrist, general practitioner (GP) or community mental health team.
Information for family and carers
Families, carers and supporters have a vital role to play in supporting the driving safety and recovery driving goals of the person they care for.
For example, they can have short but frequent conversations with the driver (such as in the Drive Safe checklists) to weigh in on decisions on when they are safe to drive.
The driving conversation here can also be two-way because the checklists can apply to the whole family, not just people experiencing a mental health condition.
The role of the family member or carer supporting a person with a mental health condition through their driving journey can be tough at times. If you are experiencing any difficulty with this or you are worried about their ability to drive safely, please contact mental health staff to talk about your concerns.
Carers may find support through Tandem, the peak body for family, carers and supporters in Mental Health.
Information for health professionals
For most people, driving a motor vehicle is an important part of daily life, supporting access to shops, services maintaining connections with family and friends, and accessing recreation and employment. For people living with a mental health condition, learning to drive or resuming and maintaining driving can be an important goal.
Driver assessor occupational therapists
Mental health divisions of Northern Health, the RMH and Orygen have trained driver assessor occupational therapists who can provide consultation to clinicians and doctors and occupational therapy driver assessments to consumers