To Drive or Not to Drive….
This article explains the medical review process of re-instating your license after it has been suspended due to a medical condition. If you are reading this article then it is likely that you or a close family member has had an Emergency Room doctor, family doctor or optometrist send a notification to the Ministry of Transportation that your license be suspended due to a medical condition. Under the Highway Traffic Act, both physicians and optometrists are required to report any patient that may be suffering from a medical or visual condition that may impair their ability to drive.
Once the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) receives this report, it is screened and prioritized in terms of risk to road safety. The MTO makes the decision to suspend your license and you will receive a notification to that effect.
Re-instatement of License Process:
Your license can be considered for reinstatement when the appropriate medical information is received and reviewed by the MTO. Your doctor will need to send in the appropriate information to the MTO and this information is reviewed on a first come first served basis. If your report indicates that the medical standards are met, then a notice of reinstatement will be mailed to you.
Vision is a complex issue. According to the MTO, to maintain a valid driver’s licence, not only do you have to pass a minimum visual acuity test (how well your eyes can focus), you also need to pass a visual field test (when looking forward, what is your peripheral vision?). After having a stroke or Acquired Brain Injury, your visual field can be impacted. One example of this occurs when a part of your brain is damaged such that you have vision loss occurring in one side of your visual world in each eye. If you have an issue with your visual field, it is still possible to get a vision waiver so that you can be assessed to see how this impacts your driving ability. Your optometrist must complete a visual field assessment and your family doctor must complete a medical form. It is then your responsibility to forward this to the MTO.
If the MTO has requested that you be assessed at a driving assessment centre, then it is your responsibility to arrange this with an approved driving assessment centre. Please see addendum to this report for centres within Waterloo Wellington. The cost of the driving assessment ranges between $500- $800 and it is your responsibility to cover the costs of this evaluation.
What does a driving evaluation consist of?
A driving assessment consists of an in-clinic medical assessment and an on-road driving evaluation. This takes 3-4 hours to complete.
In clinic Medical Assessment:
Medical History: The OT will ask about your general medical information, lifestyle issues, level of functioning etc.
Physical Assessment: The OT will evaluate your range of motion, (especially neck and upper back) joint movement, strength, sensation, balance, reaction time, and ability to get in and out of car
Vision assessment: The OT will assess your visual acuity, peripheral vision, depth perception, night vision and glare recovery
Cognitive and perceptual assessment: To determine if you have the necessary visual perception, concentration, reaction time, decision making speed, impulse control, judgement and knowledge of the rules of the road.
This is completed with a qualified driving instructor and the Occupational Therapist in the car. Basic driving skills are assessed.
If in doubt about you or your loved one’s ability to return to driving or you have questions about the driving assessment process, it is recommended that you discuss this with your family doctor and/or contact a driving evaluation centre as listed below.
Please note, all information contained in this article has been obtained from the following website:
For more information about the driving assessment process, please refer to this website: http://www.caot.ca/default.asp?pageid=3788
To Drive or Not to Drive….