Driver Medical Fitness
Driver Medical Fitness Information for Medical Professionals
FORM for Medical Professional to Report a Condition Affecting Fitness and Ability to Drive
The Superintendent of Motor Vehicles is responsible for assessing drivers and making driver 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 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 psychologists, optometrists, medical practitioners and nurse practitioners 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 a DriveABLE assessment, 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 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.
Driver fitness guidelines were developed in partnership with Doctors of BC, 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 guidelines are published as:
The driver fitness guidelines are also available in a more condensed form with quick-links in this Driver Fitness Handbook for Medical Professionals.
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.
Driver's Medical Examination Report (DMER)
The Driver Medical Examination Report (DMER) is the primary tool used by the Superintendent to assess the severity, progression, treatment or effects of a medical condition, if any, in regards to a driver’s fitness to drive. Drivers are requested to have the DMER completed and sent to the Superintendent in the following circumstances:
- at regular intervals when a person holds a commercial class driver’s licence;
- the driver has a previously identified medical condition that may affect driving;
- the Superintendent receives a report from a reliable source indicating that a driver has, or may have, a condition that could negatively affect their ability to drive; and/or
- the driver reaches age 80 and at regular intervals thereafter.
The Superintendent’s office will review the completed Driver’s Medical Examination Report and let the driver know if any more information or assessment is required. The Superintendent will also notify the driver, in writing, of any driver’s licence status changes which occur as a result of the information on the report.
Below is a sample copy of the Driver Medical Examination Report:
Important: Driver Medical Examination Reports must be completed and returned to RoadSafetyBC within 45 days of receipt or the driver’s licence may be cancelled. Information and instructions are provided on the back of the form. There may be situations where it is not possible to meet the timelines as indicated on the forms. If this is the case, it is necessary that the driver contact RoadSafetyBC as soon as possible. Failure to do so may result in the cancellation of the driver’s licence.
The Assessment Process
The Superintendent delegates Driver Fitness program staff to conduct driver fitness assessments and make decisions on an individual’s driving privileges. Program staff include intake agents who respond to public and client phone enquiries and make first order driver fitness decisions, adjudicators who make the majority of assessment decisions and case managers who make driver fitness decisions on the more complex cases.
The Superintendent uses a functional approach to determining driver fitness, assessing the effect(s) that a medical condition has on the driver’s cognitive, sensory and motor functions that are necessary for driving. In making driver fitness determinations, the Superintendent considers:
- The principles of administrative fairness;
- Research associating the medical condition with adverse driving outcomes or evidence of functional impairment;
- Expert opinion regarding the degree of risk associated with the medical condition at various severity levels; and
- The individual characteristics and abilities of the driver (i.e. private or commercial driver; compensation for the functional impairment; compliance with treatment regime; insight into the impact that their medical condition may have on driving).
When appropriate, the Superintendent utilizes individual functional assessments to determine whether an individual’s ability to drive is impaired and, if so, whether the individual can compensate. For example, the Superintendent may require a driver to take a vision test, a functional driving evaluation, a road test re-examination, or complete a medical or other examination in order to help determine fitness to drive.
Upon assessment, the Superintendent has the authority to deny, cancel, or restrict any class of driver’s licence where there is reliable medical evidence that someone has a medical condition which affects that person’s ability to drive safely.
Under section 92 of the Motor Vehicle Act, the Superintendent may also cancel a driver’s licence if the driver has not complied with a requirement to complete an assessment or exam needed to make a driver fitness determination. In such circumstances, the driver’s licence remains cancelled until the driver complies with the requirement.
Urgent Driver's Licence Reviews
When RoadSafetyBC receives reliable evidence of a serious medical issue that may affect a driver’s ability to drive safely RoadSafetyBC undertakes an urgent file review and a driver may receive one of the following letters:
- Urgent Cancellation Decision
- Notice to Cancel
- Request for Urgent Assessment
- Request for Further Information
Evidence of a serious medical issue may be in the form of a report received from police, a physician or from another health care professional.
For more information please see the Urgent Licence Review fact sheet.
Road Tests Re-Examinations
The Superintendent may require that a driver complete a road test re-examination as part of the process of making a driver fitness determination. The Insurance Corporation of BC (ICBC) administers the exams on the Superintendent’s behalf. There is no fee charged for re-examinations.
Some of the most common reasons for a road test re-exam are:
- A doctor reports a medical condition that may affect a person’s fitness or ability to drive safely;
- Results of a previous re-exam suggest follow-up testing is necessary; and/or
- A collision report, police report or other report indicates a driver may be unable or unsure how to handle a common driving situation.
For more information on driver re-examinations, see ICBC’s webpage: Driver re-exam road test.
Commercial Driver's Fitness Requirements
RoadSafetyBC follows the National Safety Code’s (NSC) schedule of medical monitoring for commercial drivers.
Class 1 to 4 drivers and those with an industrial licence endorsement (e.g. airbrakes) are required to have a Driver’s Medical Examination Report completed at the time of application and in compliance with the NSC schedule thereafter. The Driver’s Medical Examination Report is mailed to the driver when it is time to complete the examination. Under the Motor Vehicle Act, it is the driver’s responsibility to ensure that his or her address is current.
Further information concerning the DMER requirement and instructions are provided on the back of the Driver’s Medical Examination Report form.
For further information, please refer to the following Fact Sheets:
Code W is an identifier placed on the front of a commercial driver’s licence, to indicate that the operator has a medical condition that prohibits the operation of a commercial vehicle in the United States.
ICBC has been issuing licences with the Code W identifier since January 30, 2014. This identifier is necessary to ensure compliance with NAFTA obligations. For more information please see the
Code W Fact Sheet
Drivers with Epilepsy or Diabetes
Drivers who have a medical condition, such as diabetes or epilepsy, which may affect their fitness to drive, may be required to have their doctor complete a Driver’s Medical Examination Report. This report is designed to provide the Superintendent with the information necessary to make a determination as to whether the person is fit to drive. The information required to make a driver fitness decision may depend upon the specific condition and the Superintendent publishes Fact Sheets to assist drivers with these conditions in understanding how the condition may affect their ability to drive.
For further information, please refer to the following Fact Sheets:
Reporting Your Concern about a Person's Fitness to Drive
Health care practitioners, family members, or concerned citizens can send a report to RoadSafetyBC regarding concerns they have a about a driver’s fitness to drive safely.
The report must include the driver’s full name and other identifying information. A driver’s licence number is preferable but not required. Details concerning the driver’s fitness to drive safely must also be included in the report.
The full name of the person providing the report and a contact number or address is also required. RoadSafetyBC will not consider anonymous reports or verbal reports.
Unsolicited reports expressing concerns regarding a driver’s safety on the road are given high priority by RoadSafetyBC. The reports are reviewed and, if a decision is made that medical information or further assessment is required, RoadSafetyBC will contact the driver directly. For further information, please refer to the following Fact Sheet:
Review of a Driver Medical Fitness Decision
If a driver’s medical condition changes or improves, the driver may request a review of a driver medical fitness decision that denies, cancels or places restrictions on their driver’s licence. Driver fitness reviews are conducted by Adjudicators or Case Managers (Registered Nurses) and there is no fee associated with a review. The specific information required to initiate a review is outlined in the decision letter sent to the driver. Most often, new medical information indicating an improvement in medical condition is required. Drivers should respond to the specific information request set out in the letter sent to them by RoadSafetyBC.
RoadSafetyBC will send the driver a letter setting out the outcome of the review. Under the Motor Vehicle Act, it is the driver’s responsibility to ensure that their address is current.
Urgent Cancellation Reconsideration:
Urgent Cancellation is an immediate cancelation of driving privileges based upon current, reliable information of an urgent medical issue and an urgent road safety risk. Drivers have 21 days from the date of the cancellation letter to request a reconsideration of the cancellation decision. Urgent cancellation reconsideration requests are treated as a priority. There are no extensions granted for reconsideration requests. Details regarding the reconsideration process are outlined in letters to drivers.
The Urgent Licence Reviews and Reconsiderations fact sheet provides further information on this reconsideration process.
Review and Reconsideration submissions may be faxed to: (250) 952-6888 or mailed to:
DRIVER MEDICAL FITNESS PROGRAM
P O BOX 9254
STN PROV GOVT
VICTORIA, BC V8W 9J2
Driver fitness review decisions are final and binding. Drivers may seek independent legal advice, at their own expense, if they are dissatisfied with the outcome of a driver fitness review.