What do I need to know about reporting a patient to the Registry of Motor Vehicles

Question: Is is mandatory for me to report my concerns?

Answer: No, reporting is at the discretion of the physician. Section 279 (7) of the Motor Vehicle Act states that: Every qualified medical practitioner may report to the Registrar the name and address of any patient attending upon him for medical services who, in the opinion of such qualified medical practitioner, is afflicted with mental or physical infirmities or disabilities rendering it unsafe for such patient to drive a motor vehicle upon the highways. The term “highways” refers to any public road.

Question: What information should I include in my letter?

Answer: Information should include the name and address of the driver, a statement regarding your concern, but no medical information. You can print a suggested reporting form here. This form can be mailed or faxed to the RMV’s Medical Fitness Unit.

Question: What happens after the RMV receives my letter?

Answer: Reports of unsafe drivers are reviewed promptly; usually within 5 business days. A Deputy Registrar of Motor Vehicles reviews the letter in conjunction with the driver’s record . The review may result in a suspension of the driver’s license or a request for the driver to supply more information. The driver is sent a letter advising them of the Deputy Registrar’s decision with respect to their license.

Question: What kind of information might be available from the driving record?

Answer: The driving record may include information such as collisions, traffic violations, prior re-examination dates, complaints, and/or previous involvement with the medical section.

Question: What kind of information might be requested by the RMV?

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.

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

Answer: If the decision is to suspend the license, the driver will be sent a registered letter advising them of the suspension and asking for their license to be returned to the RMV. The suspension letter will also advise the driver of the appeal mechanism.

Question: What is a re-examination?

Answer: The re-examination is performed by the RMV and consists of a vision test, rules and signs test, and an on-road test.

Question: What happens if the Deputy Registrar requests that the driver complete a driving re-examination?

Answer: If the driver is unsuccessful with the driving re-examination, the driver’s license will remain suspended and usually the driver is given another opportunity to take the re-examination. If the driver is unsuccessful a second time, they may be sent a letter advising that they need an updated medical opinion regarding their fitness to drive if they wish to have their case reviewed again or they may be sent a letter advising that they are entitled to a hearing.

Question: Is there a time limit on completing a driving examination request from the RMV?

Answer: Yes. Usually, the Deputy Registrar requests that the driving examination be completed within 60 days. If the driver does not comply with this demand by the date in the letter, they will be suspended for failing to comply with the demand.

Question: Do drivers have the right to appeal the RMV’s decision?

Answer: Yes, Under the Motor Vehicle Act, drivers are entitled to a hearing to appeal a suspension of their driver’s license. In the letter of suspension, however, drivers are usually advised 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.

Question: What information is used in the hearing?

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

Question: What arrangements may be made for an appeal hearing?

Answer: If the driver can choose to have a written hearing or an in-person hearing (by appointment) where the driver has the opportunity to provide an explanation as to why their license should be reinstated.

Question: What are the possible outcomes of an appeal hearing?

Answer: If the medical information is satisfactory, the driver’s license may be reinstated but usually with the provision that the driver will be subject to ongoing reviews including follow up medical reports and/or re-examinations every six months or every year. Alternatively, the Deputy Registrar may request an opinion from the Medical Advisory Committee, or may request more medical information, or may revoke the license permanently.

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

Answer: At the point where it is determined that the driver has an irreversible medical condition that interferes with the ability to drive safely, the driver’s license may be permanently revoked by the Deputy Registrar. The driver cannot appeal this decision through the Motor Vehicle Act. They must proceed through the Nova Scotia Supreme Court.