Overview of Driver Medical Fitness
The Superintendent of Motor Vehicles is responsible for assessing drivers and making Driver Medical Fitness decisions. The primary tool used for this assessment is the Driver’s Medical Examination Report (DMER), completed by the driver’s physician. The DMER provides information for RoadSafetyBC Driver Medical Fitness staff in their assessment of the severity, progression, treatment or effects of any medical condition(s) that the driver may have that could affect their fitness to drive.
Driver Medical Examination Reports are completed at various times and intervals depending on:
- The age of the driver
- The class of driver’s licence held
- When a driver has a known medical condition that may affect driving
- Or when a reliable report is received indicating that an individual may have a condition that affects driving
Every legally qualified and registered psychologist, optometrist, medical practitioner and nurse practitioner must report patients, whom they believe are unfit to drive, to the Superintendent if the patient meets the criteria in section 230 of the Motor Vehicle Act.
When RoadSafetyBC receives a reliable report that a driver has a condition affecting driving, the Superintendent makes a case-by-case determination regarding the person’s driving privileges. The determination could involve requesting that the driver provide further medical information or complete a functional assessment. Some examples of types of functional assessments include an Enhanced Road Assessment (ERA), an assessment by an occupational therapist, or a driver re-examination (road test). RoadSafetyBC’s driver fitness team reviews the information in each individual circumstance and makes an assessment based on the totality of the evidence. As a result of the assessment, the Superintendent may require periodic medical reporting, place conditions on the licence or make a finding that the person is unfit to drive. In some circumstances the Superintendent may need to cancel the individual’s driver’s licence.
All Driver Medical Fitness cases are reviewed by the RoadSafetyBC Driver Fitness Program team that includes: intake agents, adjudicators and case managers (registered nurses). Case managers are responsible for making decisions on medically complicated cases and providing consultation to adjudicators as required.
The Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA) Medical Standards for Drivers with B.C. Specific Guidelines were developed to help the Superintendent better assess the effects that a medical condition has on the driver’s cognitive, sensory and motor functions necessary for driving.
The CCMTA Medical Standards with BC Specific Guidelines is the decision guiding tool used by RoadSafetyBC in determining driver licence status and is a reference for medical practitioners when they are assessing driver fitness. The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) Guide to Drive continues to be a clinical reference for physicians when they are counselling patients regarding driving. Where the two documents are in conflict, the CCMTA Standards will prevail. Additional reference materials and supports including College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA), and RoadSafetyBC, also remain valid references for physicians/clinicians.
The Superintendent seeks to ensure that drivers are given the maximum licensing privileges appropriate, taking into account the driver’s medical condition, the impact of that condition on the functions necessary for driving and the driver’s ability to compensate for the condition. Driver fitness determinations are made using the principles of administrative fairness while considering the need to maintain public safety.