Tumours, seizures, and certain treatments and medicines (such as anticonvulsants and some pain medicines) can affect the skills needed to drive safely. These can include:
- having good vision and perception
- being able to concentrate
- being able to remember directions
- good hand-eye coordination.
Learn more about:
When you are first diagnosed
If you are diagnosed with any type of brain tumour, it is very important to ask your doctor how your condition or treatment will affect your ability to drive.
When you are first diagnosed with a brain tumour, your doctor will probably advise you not to drive for a period of time. You probably won’t be able to drive for some time after surgery and possibly after radiation therapy.
If you have had seizures, you will need to be seizure free for a period of time before you are allowed to drive. If you stop taking your anticonvulsant medicines, you will also need to be seizure free for a period of time until you are allowed to drive.
Before you start driving again, always check with your doctor. Laws in Australia require drivers to tell their driver licensing authority about any permanent or long-term illness or injury that is likely to affect their ability to drive. Your doctor can advise you if you should report your condition or if there are any temporary restrictions. The licensing authority may request information from your doctor to decide if you are medically fit to drive.
|Have a driving evaluation to check your ability to return to driving. This may include doing an off-road assessment, or having an electroencephalogram (EEG) to assess your seizure risk.|
|See an occupational therapist driving assessor or a neurologist or rehabilitation specialist to determine the type of problems you may be experiencing while driving (for example, a slow reaction time). The focus of the assessment is not to suspend or cancel your licence: it is to work out if it is possible for you to return safely to driving.|
|In some cases, an occupational therapist can teach you some driving techniques to help with weaknesses or how to make changes to your car (such as extra mirrors). You may also be able to drive with restrictions, such as only in daylight, only in vehicles with automatic transmission or only short distances from home.|
|Some people feel upset or frustrated if they have restrictions on their licence or can no longer drive. You may feel that you have lost your independence or be worried about the impact on your family. It may help to talk to a counsellor or someone who has been through a similar experience. Depending on your situation and your health, it may be possible to return to driving at a later stage.|
|Follow any licence restrictions. If your doctor has said you are not safe to drive, you must not drive unless they change that medical decision. If you ignore the restrictions or drive unsafely, your licence may be suspended or cancelled. You may be fined if you drive while your licence has been suspended or cancelled. If you have an accident while driving, you could be charged with a criminal offence and your insurance policy will no longer be valid.|
|For more information, talk to your doctor or see Austroad’s Assessing Fitness to Drive.|
I had a craniotomy for a benign brain tumour but they couldn’t take all the tumour out. Later I had radiation therapy. Part of the tumour is still there, but it is stable, so I have been able to return to work and I can now drive again.
Download a PDF booklet on this topic.
A/Prof Andrew Davidson, Neurosurgeon, Macquarie University Hospital, NSW; Dr Lucy Gately, Medical Oncologist, Oncology Clinics Victoria, and Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, VIC; Melissa Harrison, Allied Health Manager and Senior Neurological Physiotherapist, Advance Rehab Centre, NSW; Scott Jones, Consumer; Anne King, Neurology Cancer Nurse Coordinator, Health Department, WA; Dr Toni Lindsay, Senior Clinical Psychologist and Allied Health Manager, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, NSW; Elissa McVey, Consumer; Caitriona Nienaber, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA; Dr Claire Phillips, Deputy Director, Radiation Oncology, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC.
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