Ethical Considerations

Although it is generally a patient's responsibility to inform the licensing authority of any injury or medical condition that affects his or her driving, occasionally ethical responsibilities may require a doctor to inform the licensing authorities of a particular problem. If a patient has a medical condition that renders him or her unfit to drive, the doctor should ensure that the patient understands that the condition may impair his or her ability to drive. If the patient is incapable of understanding this advice (e.g., because of dementia), the doctor should inform the licensing authority immediately (15).

If patients continue to drive when they are not fit to do so, the doctor should make every reasonable effort to persuade them to stop, which may include informing their next of kin. If this still does not persuade the patient to stop driving, the doctor should disclose relevant medical information immediately, in confidence, to the medical adviser of the licensing authority. Before disclosing this information, the doctor should inform the patient of the decision to do so, and once the licensing authority has been informed, the doctor should also write to the patient to confirm that disclosure has been made (15).

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