Fitness to drive in patients with brain tumours: the influence of mandatory reporting legislation on radiation oncologists in Canada

A.V. Louie, D.P. D'Souza, D.A. Palma, G.S. Bauman, M. Lock, B. Fisher, N. Patil, G.B. Rodrigues



Certain jurisdictions in Canada legally require that physicians report unfit drivers. Physician attitudes and patterns of practice have yet to be evaluated in Canada for patients with brain tumours.


We conducted a survey of 97 radiation oncologists, eliciting demographics, knowledge of reporting laws, and attitudes on reporting guidelines for unfit drivers. Eight scenarios with varying disability levels were presented to determine the likelihood of a patient being reported as unfit to drive. Statistical comparisons were made using the Fisher exact test.


Of physicians approached, 99% responded, and 97 physicians participated. Most respondents (87%) felt that laws in their province governing the reporting of medically unfit drivers were unclear. Of the responding physicians, 23 (24%) were unable to correctly identify whether their province had mandatory reporting legislation. Physicians from provinces without mandatory reporting legislation were significantly less likely to consider reporting patients to provincial authorities (p = 0.001), and for all clinical scenarios, the likelihood of reporting significantly depended on the physician’s provincial legal obligations.


The presence of provincial legislation is of primary importance in determining whether physicians will report brain tumour patients to drivers’ licensing authorities. In Canada, clear guidelines have to be developed to help in the assessment of whether brain tumour patients should drive.

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ISSN: 1198-0052 (Print) ISSN: 1718-7729 (Online)