To Drive or Not to Drive: Assessment Dilemmas for GPs

Int J Family Med. 2012;2012:417512. doi: 10.1155/2012/417512. Epub 2012 Jan 15.


Introduction. Most Australians are dependent on their cars for mobility, thus relinquishing driving licences for medical reasons poses challenges. Aims. To investigate how general practitioners (GPs) recognise and manage patients' fitness to drive, GPs' attitudes and beliefs about their role as assessors, and GPs' experiences in assessing and reporting to driving authorities and identify GPs' educational needs. Methods. Mixed methods: questionnaire mailed to GPs from three rural and two metropolitan Divisons of General Practice in Victoria, Australia. Results. 217/1028 completed questionnaires were returned: 85% recognised a patients' fitness to drive, 54% felt confident in their assessment ability, 21% felt the GP should have primary responsibility for declaring patients' fitness to drive, 79% felt that reporting a patient would negatively impact on the doctor-patient relationship, 74% expressed concern about legal liability, and 74% favoured further education. Discussion. This study provides considerable information including recommendations about GP education, the assessment forms, and legal clarification.