Harry, an elderly client had been driving for 60 years without a traffic infringement. He suffered a slight stroke approximately 4 years ago which impaired his speech slightly but with no other side effects.
Harry’s GP decided, without any cognitive or capacity assessments, that purely due to the client’s age, he should not be driving any longer. The GP referred Harry to an occupational therapist who deemed that he was unable to drive as she found he was ‘argumentative’ and then charged him $500.00. Harry was forced to surrender his drivers’ licence at the Department of Transport the following day.
Harry lived in a small village with no public transport and relied on his vehicle to take him to shops and social outings. Without his licence, he was completely socially isolated. Harry attended Suncoast Community Legal Service to obtain some advice. He was advised to seek a second medical opinion and to obtain the relevant cognitive and capacity assessments, as well as an eye test for good measure.
Harry received a clean bill of health from the second GP who was more than happy to attest to the client’s cognitive capacity and sign the relevant Department of Transport paperwork. The Department of Transport returned Harry’s licence and Harry returned to Suncoast bearing flowers for the solicitor and USC Law Clinic students who assisted him.