Health Care Providers
Despite the fact that physicians and optometrists are legally mandated to report patients who have medical problems that may affect driving, few have received training specific to screening for issues related to a patient’s ability to drive.
The Ontario government is in the process of expanding its list of individuals (prescribed persons) who will have a mandatory and discretionary responsibility to report a driver with medical conditions. In Ontario the Highway Traffic Act has been amended - Bill 173, Highway Traffic Amendment Act (Keeping Ontario's Roads Safe), 2014. It has been changed to state that a “prescribed person” can make mandatory or discretionary reports to the Ministry. Currently this requires that physicians and optometrists report patients who, in the opinion of the physician or optometrists, may be unfit to drive for medical reasons. At a later date the Ministry of Transportation will be expanding the list of professions (prescribed persons) who have a duty to report. The mandatory reporting requirement is found in Section 203 of the Highway Traffic Amendment Act. [PI1]
In 2014, sections 203 and 204 of the Highway Traffic Act were repealed and the following substituted:
203. (1) Every prescribed person shall report to the Registrar every person who is at least 16 years old who, in the opinion of the prescribed person, has or appears to have a medical condition, functional impairment or visual impairment that is identified as a medical condition, functional impairment or visual impairment that must be reported to the Registrar under this section in a prescribed code, standard or other publication, or a part thereof, that was prepared by the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators or by the governing college of a health profession referred to in Schedule 1 to the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991.
(2) A prescribed person may report to the Registrar a person who is at least 16 years old who, in the opinion of the prescribed person, has or appears to have a medical condition, functional impairment or visual impairment that may make it dangerous for the person to operate a motor vehicle.
Authority to make discretionary report prevails over duty of confidentiality
(3) The authority to make a report under subsection (2) prevails over any duty of confidentiality imposed on the prescribed person by or under any other Act or by a standard of practice or rule of professional conduct that would otherwise preclude him or her from providing the information described in that subsection to the Registrar.
Required to meet the person
(4) Subsections (1) and (2) only apply if the prescribed person actually met the reported person for an examination or for the provision of medical or other services, or in the circumstances prescribed by regulation.
Authority to make discretionary report is not a duty
(5) Subsections (2) and (3) do not impose a duty on a prescribed person to report to the Registrar.
General rules respecting medical reports
204. (1) A report required or authorized by section 203 must be submitted in the form and manner specified by the Registrar and must include,
(a) the name, address and date of birth of the reported person;
(b) the condition or impairment diagnosed or identified by the person making the report, and a brief description of the condition or impairment; and
(c) any other information requested by the form.
No liability for compliance
(2) No action or other proceeding shall be brought against a prescribed person required or authorized to make a report under section 203 for making such a report or for reporting to the Registrar in good faith with the intention of reporting under that section.
(3) A report made under section 203, or made to the Registrar in good faith with the intention of reporting under that section, is privileged for the information of the Registrar only and shall not be open to public inspection.
(4) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations governing reports made under section 203, including regulations,
(a) prescribing persons for the purpose of subsection 203 (1) or (2);
(b) prescribing codes, standards or other publications, or parts thereof, prepared by the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators or by the governing college of a health profession referred to in Schedule 1 to the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991, that identify medical conditions, functional impairments or visual impairments for the purpose of subsection 203 (1);
(c) prescribing circumstances for the purpose of subsection 203 (4).
If there is some uncertainty as to reporting the driver, a good approach is to consider referring them for evaluation. SE Health Driver Assessment and Training is approved by the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario to conduct functional driving evaluations.
To simplify the reporting process, the Ministry of Transportation has worked with the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care-Ontario Medical Association Joint Forms Committee to develop a reporting form for legally qualified medical practitioners to use when reporting a patient.
Download Forms for More Information
Book an Inservice or Lunch and Learn Session
If you are a member of a doctor’s office, clinic, hospital or team of Occupational Therapists and would like to book an informational inservice or lunch and learn session with one of our Occupational or Certified Driving Rehabilitation Specialists, email us at email@example.com.
If you have a concern about a patient’s driving ability and safety, a good place to start is to ask a loved one or caregiver to fill out the Fitness-to-Drive Screening. The results will provide you with the information to determine whether further action is required.
The Fitness to Drive Screening Measure (FTDS) is an online tool that takes 20 minutes to complete. Caregivers or loved ones, who have observed the driver in the last three months, can rate drivers’ abilities on 54 items.
The Fitness-to-Drive Screening (FTDS) Measure was created by researchers at the University of Florida and further developed by researchers at the University of Western Ontario for caregivers and/or family members, friends of older drivers and occupational therapy practitioners (OT) to identify at-risk older drivers. After completing the questionnaire, a rating profile, of the driver is provided which includes the classification of the driver into one of three categories at-risk driver (safety concerns needing immediate attention), routine driver (early signs needing intervention), or accomplished driver (driving is acceptable). Based on the specific driver category, suggestions for follow up steps are provided.
The person can save or print the rating profile
To view the User manual go HERE
The Fitness-to-Drive questionnaire is available at the link below.
Fill out the Fitness to Drive questionnaire