This information is designed for use by young people with a Fontan circulation and their families.
Are you ready to start driving?
An exciting part of growing up is getting your driver’s license. Many people who have a Fontan circulation are able to get their driver’s license, but first there are a few steps to take.
1. Special requirements
Before getting your license you’ll need to have a medical assessment with your GP. Your GP will fill out a form and send it to the Roads and Maritime Service (RMS), the government department responsible for issuing driver’s licenses.You will need to disclose your heart condition to the RMS. If you have a pacemaker or defibrillator or have previously had a stroke, seizures or other episodes resulting in a loss of consciousness (blacking out), you will need to meet certain requirements to get a driver’s license. This will include being free from any episodes for 6 months before obtaining your license.
2. Assessments and modifications
Sometimes the RMS or your doctor will recommend that you have a driving assessment with an occupational therapist or have modifications fitted to your car. If needed, Royal Rehab is the closest facility to The Children’s Hospital at Westmead that will be able to coordinate this for you.
3. Getting licensed
After you have addressed the special requirements you can make an appointment to obtain your driver’s license.
4. Getting insurance
When you apply for car insurance policy, make sure you are listed as the driver. You will need to check with the car’s insurer if you are required to disclose your medical history to them. (They may have extra requirements or assessments that you will need to have for the car insurance to be valid while you are driving.)
5. Mobility parking
You may also be eligible for, and want a mobility parking permit. A mobility parking permit lets you:
- park in an accessible parking spot
- park in certain parking spots for longer periods of time than indicated on signage.
Visit the RMS website for more info and forms. Print out the form and have your GP fill it in. Not everyone with a Fontan circulation will need a mobility parking permit; discuss your needs with your GP.
What about if driving isn’t for you?
Some people with Fontan circulations may not be safe to drive. Fortunately urban Australia has an efficient public transport network, so there are other options. If you need help to plan your public transport trip there are a number of helpful websites and apps.
You need to make sure that you fully understand your responsibilities when you begin driving.
Roads and Maritime service:
Public transport planning apps:
- Google Maps
- City Mapper
Many public transport systems also have their own apps or websites that you can use to plan a trip.