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Chan ML, Gustafsson L, Liddle J
Correspondence: Ms Chan Mei Leng, firstname.lastname@example.org
Introduction With an ageing population, policy makers need to balance active ageing needs with older driver safety. In 2009, a survey of licensing policies for taxi drivers in Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia was undertaken for an evidence-based review of policies.
Methods Licensing requirements collected using semi-structured questionnaires were compared descriptively and with evidence from licensing policies on older drivers.
Results All the regions used medical certifications with vision screening. The frequency of medical certification varied according to the renewal cycle and age. Medical guidelines on fitness to drive were available in Australia and Singapore. Legislation for self-reporting of medical conditions by drivers existed in Australia and Hong Kong. Legislation for reporting at-risk drivers by doctors was limited to two Australian states. There were differences in the minimum age and driving experience criteria, the use of practical training, written and English tests, age-based screening, mandatory retirement age, refresher courses, off- and on-road tests.
Conclusion Medical screening for at-risk drivers remains crucial. Age-based mandatory retirement policy at 73 years in Singapore is contrary to evidence-based practice. The lack of legislation for self-reporting of illness by drivers, the high minimum age criteria and therapy driving assessments for healthy taxi drivers are also unique to Singapore. There was stricter age-based relicensing from the age of 65 years in some Australian states and in Singapore. Continuing education for doctors, multi-tier screening for at-risk drivers and licensing policy changes are indicated.
Keywords: driver, evidence, health policy, licensing, medical guidelines
Singapore Med J 2010; 51(12): 913-922