What happens when someone is reported to the Registry of Motor Vehicles?

The following questions and answers can help you understand what takes place when the Registry of Motor Vehicles is notified that someone may not be medically fit to drive.

Who can report someone to the Registry of Motor Vehicles?

If a doctor, family member, or member of the public has concerns about a driver’s safety, he or she may contact the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) suggesting that they follow-up on this issue.

In Nova Scotia, reporting is at the discretion of the doctor (as stipulated in Section 279(7) of the Motor Vehicle Act. No medical information will be sent to the RMV without the driver’s consent. The doctor will send a letter with the driver’s name and address, and will state that they are concerned about driving safety.

What happens after the RMV receives a letter?

Answer: The Medical Unit of the Motor Vehicle Administration Section of Services Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations handles license suspensions.  Reports of unsafe drivers are usually reviewed within 5 business days.
A Deputy Registrar of Motor Vehicles will review the letter and the driver’s record and decide if the driver’s license should be suspended or if more information is needed to make a decision. The driver is then sent a letter advising them of the RMV’s decision.

What kind of information is on a driving record?

Answer: The driving record may contain information on collisions, traffic violations, prior re-examination dates, complaints, and/or previous reports from doctors about the person’s driving safety.

What kind of further information could the RMV request?

Answer: The Registrar of Motor Vehicles has the authority, under sections 279 and 280 of the Motor Vehicle Act, to request that a driver undergo a medical examination or complete a re-examination.

What happens if the Deputy Registrar decides to suspend the license?

Answer: The driver will be sent a letter letting them know that their license has been suspended and asking for their license to be returned to the RMV. This letter will also let the driver know about options for appealing this decision.

What is a re-examination?

Answer: The re-examination takes place at the RMV and consists of a vision test, rules and signs test and an on-road test. This is the same test that new drivers complete to obtain a driver’s license.

What happens if the Deputy Registrar asks for a driving re-examination?

Answer: If the driver is unsuccessful with the driving re-examination their license will remain suspended, usually the driver is then given another opportunity to take the re-examination. If the driver is unsuccessful a second time, they may be sent a letter letting them know that they need an updated medical opinion about their driving abilities if they wish to have their case reviewed again or they may be sent a letter advising that they can come in for a hearing.

If a driving re-examination is requested how soon will it have to be done?

Answer: Usually, the driving examination is to be completed within 60 days. If the driver does not complete the examination by the date in the letter, their license will be suspended for failing to comply with the demand.

Can a driver appeal the RMV’s decision?

Answer: Yes, Under the Motor Vehicle Act, drivers can appeal a suspension of their license. In the letter of suspension, drivers are usually notified that in order for their hearing to be successful they would need to either submit more medical information and/or successfully complete a re-examination.

What information is used in the hearing?

Answer: The medical information and/or the re-examination are the basis of the hearing

How does an appeal hearing work?

Answer: If the driver chooses to have a hearing, this can be in writing or an appointment can be made for in-person hearing. This is where the driver has the opportunity to explain why their license should be re-instated

What are the possible outcomes of an appeal hearing?

Answer: If the medical information is satisfactory, the driver’s license may be reinstated but the driver will usually have to be reviewed again every six to twelve months. These reviews would include follow up medical reports and/or re-examinations. If the medical information is not satisfactory, the Deputy Registrar may request an opinion from the Medical Advisory Committee, may request more medical information, or may revoke the license permanently.

If the license is permanently revoked, can the driver appeal this decision?

Answer: No, the driver cannot appeal this decision through the Motor Vehicle Act. They must proceed through the Nova Scotia Supreme Court.