Practical Experience-Based Approaches to Assessing Fitness to Drive in Dementia

Frank J. Molnar, MSc, MDCM, FRCPC; Anna M. Byszewski, MD, FRCPC; Mark Rapoport, MD, FRCPC; William B. Dalziel, MD, FRCPC


Geriatrics and Aging. 2009;12(2):83-92. 

In This Article


By employing approaches such as those presented in Table 2 and Table 3 , clinicians with baseline knowledge of a patient can assess fitness to drive in a relatively short period of time and can appropriately select only those patients who truly need referral for further in-depth assessment of fitness to drive. By not referring patients whose fitness to drive can be determined in the primary physician's office, our system will be able to better adapt to the rapidly growing numbers of older drivers who truly require specialized assessment of fitness to drive. To preserve public safety, provinces must better fund their ministries of transportation to allow these ministries to, in turn, fund comprehensive on-road testing for the escalating number of persons with mild dementia whose fitness to drive cannot be determined without an on-road test. To do otherwise will perpetuate the disincentives to physician assessment and reporting of fitness to drive described above and will place the general public at unnecessary risk.

For those interested in learning more regarding the evaluation of fitness to drive in dementia, we recommend the Ontario Alzheimer Knowledge Exchange dementia and driving resources available at, and the Dementia and Driving Toolkit, available on the Regional Geriatric Program of Eastern Ontario website at


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