SHOULD DOCTORS DECIDE WHO DRIVES?

Doctors are duty bound to tell licensing authorities about any medical  condition that would limit their driving abilities.  But how do   doctors decide who should keep their license and who should not?  Especially when the doctor has never seen you drive?

Here are a few things you can do to tip the exam in your favour.  Show the doctor you have no demerit points.  And no insurance claims against you.  You can do more.  Get  a report from a professional driving school.  Get them to give you a written evaluation of your driving abilities in the city and in the country.

Now the doctor has information on whih he can base his decision about your driving.

But absent this kind of material, on what should the doctor base his decision?  How can they make an educated decision without in-put from the patient?

Losing your license is a big change in life style.  Should that decision be in the hands of an uninformed doctor?

Should doctors decide who drives and who doesn’t?

What do you think?

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11 Comments »

  1. 1

    Doctors aren’t “uninformed” as you put it Neil… they have medical records to work with.

    John Doe deals with seizures daily – I think the doctor has enough information to revoke ~that~ licence, don’t you?

    There are lots of examples like this one which show that a doctor has enough information to want to revoke a licence… not in all cases of course, but in many (like partial blindness, spasms, etc…)

  2. 2
    Cate McB Says:

    Doctors also have to deal with the law. Eg., here in Ontario, the law indicates how blind is too blind to drive and doctors have to act on that otherwise they could lose their license.

  3. 3
    Heidi Gulatee Says:

    There is a fine line of either protecting the public and these drivers and the taking away the privilege to drive. I know people well over 80 years of age and they seem to drive very well.
    Often it is their children that have to inform loved ones when they see that a person is not safe anymore to drive. And it is terrible if an accident has to happen first and life has been lost or people being injured.

  4. 4

    In Quebec, Individual drivers must report certain conditions such as diabetes, to the Regie. I think they should also have to report alcohol or drug abuse, or allow a Dr. to report it.
    I don’t think that Doctors are misinformed, but the burden of proof rests on the individual to be tested for competency and the Dr. to report seizures or any condition that makes it unsafe to drive.
    I don’t want to be mowed down by some old geezer who is far past his/her
    “best before” date. 🙂

  5. 5
    Neil McKenty Says:

    I would argue that a doctor knows what diseases you have but he does not know a damned thing about whether you are a good driver or a bad driver.

  6. 6

    Want an informed opinion from a former driving instructor? The doctor does not need to know how well a person can drive. But the doctor is definitely aware of contributing medical factors to dangerous driving, and that is what they are reporting. It’s the licensing people who make the final decision, because they are the ones who set the conditions for being allowed a license.

    If you are prone to medical conditions that make you dangerous behind the wheel, you may not drive. Period.

  7. 7
    Barbara Says:

    Having a clean record on a driver’s license is not absolute proof that one is a good driver. One could limit one’s driving to good weather and only in less challenging environments. One could be overly cautious, too. It is only proof that one has not yet violated the law or been involved in an accident recently. Good reflexes and ability to make quick judgements also contribute to one’s efficacy as a driver. Quality of eyesight and hearing play a role. If the risk is high that one will have a heart attack or a stroke, the doctor presumably would be aware of this and would be required by law to advise the authorities. Alas, this is not a judgement one can always make about oneself. A driver’s license is a privilege.

  8. 8

    Neil wrote: “a doctor knows what diseases you have but he does not know a damned thing about whether you are a good driver or a bad driver.”

    Wow… I totally disagree. I would think that a doctor knowing that a person deals with seizures daily is enough to be able to say the person is not safe behind the wheel. I can’t believe you’d think differently Neil! How can you be a “good” driver when you lose the ability to control your body without any prior notice (having a seizure)??

  9. 9
    Neil McKenty Says:

    Of course, Joe, if the doctor determines you are subject to seizures, your driving is probably over.

    But take the case where the driver has chronic insomnia but has been driving safely for years. Yet the doctor decides you are not safe to drive and you lose your license. What about that? No recourse either.

  10. 10

    Neil, I told you — it’s not the doctor who makes that decision, it’s the licensing bureau.

    Chronic insomnia is a danger signal for two things: heart attack and stroke. A driver can be the safest thing on the road for years and years, and then have a heart attck and kill a whole family in one disastrous episode. Paying attention to the danger signals, and withholding them from the proximity of the public is the purview of the licensing folks. Doctors only follow directions.

  11. 11
    Jim Says:

    If one doesn’t want to lose their driver’s license, don’t see a doctor. One will have until their 80th before they are forced by the government to see a croaker.


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