Reporting Unfit Drivers: Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practice of BC Physicians

Dr. Jeff Bruchacher along with his research team, Dr. Colby Renschler, Dr. Ana Maria Gomez, Dr. Benjamin Huang, Chung W. Lee, Shannon Erdelyi, Dr. Herbert Chan, and Dr. Roy Purssell, recently released “Reporting Unfit Drivers: Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practice of BC Physicians“. This report puts forth a number of recommendation aimed at overcoming barriers to physician reporting of medically unfit drivers in BC.

Unfit drivers impose risks on themselves and on other road users. The risk of subsequent crashes is reduced when physicians identify unfit drivers and warn them not to drive. In BC, physicians are only obligated to report unfit drivers who continue to drive after being warned to stop.

The most commonly cited barrier to reporting unfit drives was being unaware of which unfit drivers continue to drive. Other barriers included lack of time, lack of knowledge of the process, guidelines, or legal requirement for reporting, fearing loss of rapport with patients, pressure from patients not to report, lack of remuneration, and pressure from family members not to report.

In practice, physicians see far more unfit drivers than they report to licensing authority: 67% of physicians encounter definitely unfit drivers more than twice per year, but only 19% report definitely unfit drivers more than twice per year and 34% never report definitely unfit drivers. The findings indicate a need for more education and information resources to help physicians, particularly EPs, identify and manage medically unfit drivers.

Report recommendations:

  1. Provide training and resources
  2. Minimize physician workload
  3. Improve the post-reporting response
  4. Protection for physicians
  5. Consultations re Amending the BC Motor Vehicle Act
  6. Best Practice Guidelines for Reporting

Download the full report.